herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Nearly 20,000 women abused in just one year

Nearly 20,000 women were subjected to "horrific" domestic violence last year including rape in front of their children.

Women's Aid, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has revealed the catalogue of appalling abuse in its latest annual report.

More than 3,200 children were abused. Threats to kill their children or the women themselves, severe beatings requiring hospitalisation, 201 rapes, some which took place in front of their children were among the forms of violence used.

methods

The report says calls to its services "continue to show a wide and horrific range of methods of violence being used to control not only women, but often unfor tunately their children too".

Male partners carried out 74pc of the abuse - 57pc was perpetrated by a current husband or partner and 17pc by a former husband or partner.

"Startlingly over 15pc of callers had suffered over 21 years of abuse," it adds, while 39pc had lived with abuse for between one to five years, 58pc for more than six years and 7pc for more than 30 years before seeking help.

The sexual abuse reported included rape, sexual assault with objects, being drugged and raped while unconscious, being beaten up for refusing to have sex and being forced to carry out humiliating sex acts.

Women who were physically abused were left unconscious, hospitalised, drugged and assaulted, kicked down the stairs and beaten requiring medical treatment.

Emotional abuse reported to the service included threats to burn the house down with the occupants inside, constant threats to kill the woman or the children, being stalked, harassed by phone and text, and locking the woman in her house.

welfare

The financial abuse ranged from being denied access to vital medical care, being left without cash, social welfare and child benefit being controlled and monitored and money being gambled from bank accounts.

Ireland still only has one third of the required refuge spaces recommended by the Council of Europe, explained Women's Aid Director Margaret Martin. "We as a society still haven't put in place a system to make it possible for women and their children to leave in safety and dignity", she said.

csheehy@herald.ie

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