herald

Friday 13 December 2019

'We're way off where we should be' - plea for domestic violence action

Kathleen Chada, whose sons Eoghan and Ruairi were killed by her husband, called for a new department to tackle domestic violence
Kathleen Chada, whose sons Eoghan and Ruairi were killed by her husband, called for a new department to tackle domestic violence

Family members of women and children murdered by a father or husband have called for more State services to prevent any more instances of domestic homicide.

Kathleen Chada and Ryan Hart both called for more services to be put in place after their loved ones were murdered by members of their own families.

A femicide report launched yesterday by Women's Aid showed that five women have already been killed this year.

While men are more likely to be the victim of homicide, around 82pc of those who died at the hands of intimate partners are women.

In England in 2016, Lance Hart (57) shot dead his wife Claire (50) and daughter Charlotte (19), before turning his weapon on himself. Five days before that, Ryan Hart and brother Luke had helped their mother and sister to move away from him, before he found them in a car park and killed them.

Mr Hart said that it is vital for everyone to recognise signs of coercive control to prevent similar incidents happening.

"Myself, my brother and my sister had an abusive father," he said.

Dangerous

"He controlled us in every aspect of our lives. He was never violent but he abused us in every other way and we didn't really consider his control dangerous.

"We look back over at lives and we now see the significance of our father's controlling behaviours and how that was an indication of the danger we had always lived. I started to recognise how little information we received in our life about domestic abuse.

"They need to put in place a robust education programme at school to help teach about healthy relationships and challenge harmful masculine ideas about power and control and a nationwide campaign to help people realise what coercive control and domestic abuse looks and feels like."

The femicide report also revealed that, since 1996, 230 women have been killed, and 16 children have died alongside their mothers. Of these women, 56pc were killed by a current or former partner.

In 2013, Kathleen Chada's sons, Eoghan (10) and Ruairi (five) were killed by her husband, their father, Sanjeev Chada.

The Carlow woman called for a government department to be set up to deal with domestic violence.

"We're way off where we should be," Ms Chada told the Herald.

"I can't change what has happened to Eoghan and Ruairi and I wish to God every day that it was different but it will never be different and it can't be changed.

"There must be something that will prevent the next death and in six years we still haven't done that. There needs to be a government agency funded and supported and trained properly to deal with tragic situations and there needs to be a focus on families.

"There needs to be counselling and support available, not from charities or ad hoc or from families but from a government level."

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