Women’s Aid Report Highlights Plight Of Women Experiencing Domestic Abuse

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The plight of women in Ireland was laid bare in the 2020 Report from Women’ s Aid.

The agency saw a 43% increase in the number of people who contacted the domestic violence support service compared to 2019. Women reported high levels of emotional, physical, sexual and economic abuse from their partners, in some cases as a direct result of Covid-19 restrictions. Last year, 29,717 people contacted the domestic violence support service – up 43% compared to 2019. 95% of those who contacted the 24-hour national helpline were women, 5% were men. In 2020, the helpline team heard over 22,600 disclosures of abuse against women, 16,200 of which were disclosed as emotional abuse.

Just over 4,000 disclosed physical abuse, 1,500 said they were economically abused, there were 777 disclosures of sexual abuse. 709 women said they were threatened with murder, 148 were abused while pregnant, 28 suffered miscarriage because of the abuse, 340 said they had been raped. Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid highlighted an extremely concerning gap between family law and the criminal justice system which she says is particularly acute for those subjected to criminal abuse by someone with whom they share children.

Women’s Aid said it will commission independent research this year focused on the functioning of the family law system, particularly where matters of custody and access are adjudicated, to better inform and assist in the bridging of these gaps.

Anyone affected can contact the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.