Half of Irish women will be sexually harassed, report finds

Tusla survey also says that one-quarter of women will experience physical violence

Half of all Irish women will experience sexual harassment at some point in their lives,  according to a new report from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Half of all Irish women will experience sexual harassment at some point in their lives, according to a new report from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Half of all Irish women will experience sexual harassment at some point in their lives, while one-quarter will be subjected to physical violence, according to a new report from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

An examination of 58 services nationwide which are funded by Tusla found that they answered a combined total of almost 90,000 emergency phone calls last year, and provided outreach services to 25,000 adults who had experienced domestic violence.

The report, the first of its kind, shows that one in 10 adults who used face-to-face supports in 2015 were men, while 2,600 children were given refuge over the same period.

Speaking on the report, Joan Mullan, Tusla’s national manager for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services, stated: “It is a positive first step for Tusla towards an evidence-informed approach that can guide us in our responses to adults, children and families experiencing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, so that we can ensure they receive the support they need during times of difficulty.

“The numbers in the report are not just data, they are the summary of the real-life stories of the adults, children and families that frontline services work with.”

Organisations funded by Tusla include the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Women’s Aid and the Amen helpline.

Its member services, including 16 rape crisis centres and 42 services for domestic violence victims, offer supports across 24 of the Republic’s 26 counties.

Homeless families

The report states that almost one-quarter of families made homeless in March 2016 cited domestic violence as a cause, indicating that the issue remains a large factor in the State’s homelessness and emergency accommodation crisis.

The report says that of the 3,200 people who received support in rape crisis centres across the country last year, 200 were children.

Overall, the services dealt with 23,500 first-time referrals, while nearly 30,000 people received help from face-to-face, outreach, accommodation and helpline services.

Anyone experiencing domestic, sexual or gender-based violence can contact:

• National emergency services - 999/112

• An Garda Síochána - 999/112 or your local Garda station

• Dublin Rape Crisis Centre national helpline - 1800-778888

• Women’s Aid helpline (10am to 10pm) - 1800-341 900

• Amen helpline (for men who are experiencing domestic abuse) - 046-9023718