By James Hagan
Reports between 2018 and 2020 have shown that domestic violence in Ireland has increased significantly since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with new data linking this increase with rising homeless rates.
Focus Ireland released a new report this month which ties the increase in homelessness with the rise of domestic violence in Ireland.
The study outlines flaws in current infrastructure for homeless families in Ireland, highlighting how women and female one-parent homeless families are often incorrectly represented in homeless research and aid.
One example was that women living in emergency domestic violence services are not counted as homeless in most European countries, including Ireland, which potentially has a significant impact when counting individuals in need of urgent aid.
Contributors to the study said that victims of domestic violence – whether they be with or without children – leave their abuser’s house, and will then require a house to accommodate themselves, without the financial means they had when living with the abuser.
(Above) The Focus Ireland report shows the rate of families, not individuals, homeless between 2015 to 2021. 65% of homeless single parent households were headed by women in a 2017 study.
Local authorities interviewed for the study claimed that domestic violence was a direct cause for many cases of homelessness in Ireland.
Anne Clarke, manager
Women’s Aid, an Irish organisation working to end domestic abuse against women and children since 1974, have been outspoken about the rise of domestic violence in Ireland in recent years.
Their 2020 report found:
- 29,717 contacts with Women’s Aid
- 26,400 via the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline
- 290,586 visits to womensaid.ie
- 30,841 total disclosures of abuse – graphed below
(Caption) Graph made by The City.ie
Safe Ireland, another organisation seeking to end violence towards women and children, reported 53,627 helpline calls were answered by domestic violence services in Ireland in 2018. 10,782 of these women were accommodated and/or received support from a domestic violence service, along with 2,572 children (via womensaid.ie).
More findings from previous reports includes:
- Safe Ireland reported last year that within the first 6 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, 3,500 women and 600 children contacted a domestic violence service, equating to 19 women and 3 children a day
- Women’s Aid reported 148 women had been abused while pregnant in 2020, with 28 having a miscarriage as a result
- Women’s Aid had a 43% increase in being contacted in 2020 from 2019
- Gardaí received 43,500 calls regarding domestic violence in 2020, a 17% increase on 2019.
In a study carried out by Safe Ireland and NUI Galway, 76% of women subject to coercive control were subject to financial abuse. This occurred when an abusive partner exerted complete control over finances, leaving victims dependent on the abuser to avoid poverty.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced €445,000 for 18 organisations nationwide, primarily in aid of victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Additional funds were also allocated in Budget 2022 for victims of crime and for combating domestic, sexual and gender-based crime.
RTÉ News reported that Minister McEntee said that tackling these issues was a priority for her and the government.
Women’s Aid, Safe Ireland, and more services are available below to find help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, along with Women’s Aid guide on how to view domestic violence aid sites safely.
Women’s Aid guide to safe browsing: https://www.womensaid.ie/help/digitalabuse/browsing.html
Women’s Aid: https://www.womensaid.ie/
Men’s Aid: https://www.mensaid.ie/
Safe Ireland: https://www.safeireland.ie/
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: https://www.drcc.ie/
Focus Ireland: https://www.focusireland.ie/
Picture for thumbnail – (source – Focus Ireland)