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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 22 March, 2018

Taoiseach says men who beat women are not 'macho' and should be ashamed

Women’s Aid received 22,341 reports of domestic abuse against women and children in 2015.

THE WOMEN’S AID report released today documents a “litany of shame and cowardice on the part of those who inflict violence on women,” said the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Those who do so are not macho. Those who do so should be ashamed of themselves because they bring shame on our country.
The report reflects a hidden, dark Ireland that needs to be dealt with and exposed. Those who inflict the kind of brutality in question on womenfolk should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Today Women’s Aid’s annual figures revealed there were 22,341 reports of domestic abuse against women and children in Ireland in 2015.

The figures shedding light on the violent nature of domestic abuse, as well as non-physical abuse like financial abuse and emotional abuse.

Director of Women’s Aid, Margaret Martin described the experiences of those who contacted them via their free helpline or one-to-one services:

In 2015, women told us that they were kept prisoner in their own homes, cut with knives, stabbed, spat on, punched, slapped, kicked, held down and strangled and beaten with household items with many women disclosing that they were beaten during pregnancy.

new stats Breakdown of domestic abuse disclosures

She said that women told them they were constantly verbally abused, stalked and harassed, both online and in person, during the relationship and after leaving.

Despite a 20% cut to their funding last year, in January 2016 Women’s Aid made their free helpline available 24/7.

statistics Where the calls to the Women's Aid helpine came from

Children and young women

There were 5,996 cases of child abuse reported to Women’s Aid in 2015, including 281 situations where children were physically or sexually abused by the same person who was abusing their mother.

Martin also cautioned that someone is never too young to be abused by a partner, and said that the popularity of social media opens women up to new forms of abuse.

Women’s Aid’s website provides information to young women on the signs of dating abuse, how to protect yourself online and a quiz to check the safety of your relationship.

The site received 17,000 visits last year.

shutterstock_337787174 Source: Shutterstock/altanaka

Legal Protection

Currently, there is no legal protection for women in dating relationships who are not living with their partners or have a child with them.

Women’s Aid acknowledged that Minister Frances Fitzgerald made good progress in July 2015 when she announced her draft bill to protect victims from intimidation when going through the court system.

However, the draft legislation does not extend to cover women in dating relationships and Women’s Aid is calling on the government to close this gap.

Litany of shame 

Today, Labour leader Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach for a clear timeline for the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill.

He asked if the legislation will be amended to allow young women in dating relationships who are not living with their partners to receive the same protection as envisaged for cohabiting couples under that draft legislation.

Kenny said he had “every sympathy” with the proposed amendment. He also said that resources and funding should be made available to Women’s Aid 24/7 helpline.

It seems that it should, of course, be available. I do not know the costs involved but I am sure a case could be made that would bring it about. If the making of a call would protect one person fearing for her life, the helpline will have to be considered.

The Women’s Aid national freephone helpline can be reached on 1800 341 900, 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Additional reporting Christina Finn 

Read: ‘My partner was lovely at first, but things changed after we moved in together’

Read: ‘I’ve been punched, kicked, scratched – if I stay I’ll be killed’: Stories of Ireland’s abused men

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