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Dublin: 17°C Monday 15 August 2022

'It's not love, it's entitlement': 90% of women murdered in Ireland killed by someone they know

Murder is never a ‘crime of passion’, domestic homicide expert Dr Jane Monckton Smith explains.

Image: Shutterstock/sdecoret

SEVEN WOMEN HAVE died in violent circumstances in Ireland this year, a report by Women’s Aid has found.

The charity is calling for an urgent review of domestic killings to help protect women and children and save lives following the publication of its ’Femicide Watch 2018′ report.

Women’s Aid says that without these reviews, agencies are unlikely to see the full pattern of male violence against women and children.

The report says that the vast majority of women murdered in Ireland are killed by a man they know, over half of women were killed by their current or former partner and 61% of women were killed in their own homes.

Since records began in 1996 225 women have died violently, with 16 children being killed alongside their mothers.

Domestic homicide expert Dr Jane Monckton Smith says that we need to change the way we talk about abuse and fatal violence by intimate partners.

“I’ve met a lot of wife killers and murder is never a ‘crime of passion’.  These murders are not about love, they’re about entitlement to a relationship, and a need to control that relationship. Murder is the ultimate expression of control,” she said.

The most repeated phrase uttered by these killers is ‘if I can’t have you no-one can’.  If we keep explaining these murders away as spontaneous crimes without looking into the trends, patterns and histories, we will remain in denial. But more importantly, we will be letting down both past and future victims – we just don’t know their names yet.

The director of Women’s Aid, Margaret Martin, says we must recognise the strong connection between the killing of women and domestic violence.

“The types of abuse and behaviour that precedes intimate partner Femicide, mirrors what we hear from women each day,” she said.

Last year the charity received over 21,000 contacts. Its 24-hour National Freephone Helpline answers 50 calls a day. The vast majority of these contacts were disclosures of abuse against women while more than 3,500 were disclosures of child abuse.

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They recorded more than 750 disclosures where a man had choked, smothered, beaten or threatened to beat his partner with a weapon, 217 reports of assault during pregnancy and 600 instances where a man told a woman he will kill her, the children, a family member or himself.

Dr Monckton Smith will address a Women’s Aid seminar in Dublin today ahead of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women. 

The family of Celine Cawley, killed in December 2008 and the new Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, will also address the gathering. 

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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