Domestic violence figures 'horrific'


The number of vulnerable women supported by domestic violence charities soared by more than 55 per cent over the last five years.

Safe Ireland revealed nearly 8,000 women and some 3,000 children were given help in 2011, with almost 4,000 admitted to a refuge.

But on 2,500 occasions women, many with children, were turned away because emergency accommodation was full.

Sharon O’Halloran of Safe Ireland, which represents frontline domestic violence services, said the figures are horrific and a sad indictment of Irish society.

“We are dealing with a crime that is committed nearly every hour and certainly every day of the year,” she said.

“Domestic abuse is heart breaking and it is definitely the most under-reported, largely undocumented and certainly unprosecuted crime in the country.”

The charity launched a new ad campaign to get perpetrators to “man up” about domestic violence.

Its annual report for 2011 revealed:

 - 42,383 helpline calls were answered by domestic violence services across Ireland, with many woman making repeat calls.

 - 7,797 women received support, up 56.6 per cent since 2007 and 14.5 per cent since 2010.

 - 3,066 children were helped, up 5.3 per cent since 2007.

 - 1,686 women were admitted to refuge, up 25 per cent since 2007, along with 2,142 children.

 - 5,959 women received face-to-face supports like counselling, advocacy or court accompaniment, up almost 68 per cent since 2007 and 17.5 per cent since 2010.

Ms O’Halloran said the stark new campaign switches the focus, for the first time, from the needs and views of survivors - mostly women and children - to the actions and words of those who control and abuse — mostly men.

The disturbing messages in the ad are stories of control, violence and sexual abuse that women have told staff many times over, she added.

“Man up is also putting the warped rationale of men who abuse out in the open,” said Ms O’Halloran.

“The more the perverse message of abusers is shared beyond the privacy of closed doors, the more it will be exposed, challenged and changed.”