Women more likely to be killed at home by current or ex-partner – report

209 women have been killed in past 20 years; 16 children died violently alongside mothers

New figures show 87 per cent of women who died violently in Ireland over the last 20 years were killed by a man they knew.

A total of 209 women have been killed in the last two decades and 16 children died violently alongside their mothers during that period.

Women's Aid, a national organisation that supports women and their children affected by domestic violence, published the figures in a new report called Behind Closed Doors: Femicide Watch 1996-2016.

The study revealed women in Ireland are more likely to be killed in their own homes or by a current or former partner.


A total of 131 women (63 per cent) were killed in their own homes from 1996 to 2016, the figures show.

In the 164 resolved cases through court or murder-suicides, 89 women were murdered by a partner or ex-partner, 54 were killed by a male relative or a man they knew and 21 women were murdered by strangers.

The report states an element of sexual violence and rape was reported in 22 cases.

There were 22 cases of murder-suicides during the period.

Margaret Martin, director of Women’s Aid, said there were 970 threats to kill women, children and family members disclosed to the charity last year.

She said there were also 579 incidents disclosed to them describing assaults and threats with weapons, and being strangled or smothered in 2015.

Ms Martin said femicide, which is the killing of women and girls by men, must not be accepted as a fact of life.

“Lethal violence is at the most severe end of the spectrum of violence against women. We know where women are killed. We know how women are killed and by whom. And we know why. It is time to act,” she said.

“Women should be safe in their homes and in their relationships. And we must recognise the strong connection between the killing of women and domestic violence.”

The report was released on Friday to coincide with the 16 Days of Action campaign to raise awareness of violence against women.

High-profile cases

French film producer Sophie Toscan Du Plantier (37) was killed in December 1996 in Schull, Co Cork. A new arrest warrant for chief suspect former journalist Ian Bailey was issued this year as her family continues to fight for justice 20 years on.

Elaine O'Hara (36) was murdered in August 2012 and the trial became the focus of national attention last year. Architect Graham Dwyer was convicted of the offence and jailed for life. Dwyer's appeal of his conviction is yet to be heard.

One of the most recent incidents of femicide was the murder of Clodagh Hawe (39) by her husband Alan in August. Their sons Liam, Niall and Ryan were also killed in a case of murder-suicide.

The Women’s Aid 24-hour national freephone helpline is 1800 341 900

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is an Irish Times journalist