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29th Sep 2022

Women’s Aid say victim-blaming remains major barrier in tackling domestic violence

Sarah McKenna Barry

“People across Ireland are finally and clearly saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to domestic abuse.”

Women’s Aid, Ireland’s leading domestic violence service, has said that victim-blaming remains a massive barrier in terms of tackling abuse.

Today sees the organisation partner with Allianz Insurance to launch a new initiative calling for a national day of action against victim-blaming, which will coincide with Ireland’s new national holiday, 6 February.

The initiative points to some alarming figures regarding public perception of domestic violence.

For instance, one in two people say that victim-blaming exists in Ireland, while one in two say that they lack knowledge about the support services that are available in Ireland. Additionally, one in five people between the ages of 18 and 24 have never heard the term ‘coercive control’ before, and across the demographics there is further confusion about what this term means.

Coercive control, according to Women’s Aid, is a “persistent pattern of controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour”. It can include all forms of abuse – emotional, physical, financial, sexual – and those who are being coercively controlled may find themselves in a situation where leaving is dangerous.

The survey also found that nine out of ten people believe that Ireland as a society need to take the issue of domestic abuse “more seriously”.

Launching the initiative, Women’s Aid CEO Sarah Benson said: “People across Ireland are finally and clearly saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to domestic abuse. While 70% of people say that they fear that their action could make matters worse for the person being abused, they are also clearly saying that they do want to help.

“We just need to show them how.  That’s why we are taking over Ireland’s newest public holiday and creating an annual moment of truth to tackle domestic abuse.”

She then outlined what the day of action would involve.

On 6th February 2023, we’ll be asking the people of Ireland to stop what they are doing, if only for a brief moment, and to publicly stand strong in support of those who are in situations of domestic abuse.  In doing so we will lift the veil that is hiding domestic abuse and uplift and support those in situations of abuse.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, support is available. Women’s Aid’s 24hr National Freephone Helpline can be reached on 1800 341 900. Other resources can be found on their website right here.