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Women's Aid volunteers pictured at Leinster House yesterday. Paul Sharp/Sharppix, courtesy of Women's Aid
Domestic Abuse

Protection demanded for women abused by men living elsewhere

Women’s Aid asks for legal protection for women who date, but don’t live with, abusive men as part of global ceremonies.

A WOMEN’S PROTECTION CHARITY has called for legal protection for women who are in relationships with abusive men, but who don’t live with them, saying that the problem of violence against women does not stop at domestic abuse.

Women’s Aid told the Irish Times it has seen an increase in the number of calls to its service from women who are involved in abusive relationships with men with whom they don’t live, or being abused by men with whom they have split up.

While current legislation – most notably the amended Domestic Violence Act – makes allowances for protection orders against partners in abusive relationships, such orders can only be granted to victims who are married or who have lived with their abuser for six months within the past year.

The charity yesterday marked the UN’s Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with a silent protest at Leinster House, where volunteers donned white masks and held black balloons to symbolise the plight of women who suffer from domestic abuse.

The charity’s director Margaret Martin said many women were trapped by abusive men without any ability to seek legal protection, despite having broken up with the man.

If the ex-boyfriend was familiar with a woman’s daily routine, she said, he could wait for her at a bus stop or train station and continue to intimidate her.

Removing the residency requirement from the current laws would immediately provide those women with a legal safeguard, she added.