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The Rise of Domestic Violence in Ireland

After almost twenty months of lockdowns, restricting our movements and essentially being trapped with those whom you live with, there has been a worrying increase in the number of domestic violence cases reported in Irish society. This pattern has been seen globally, with the United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, calling for drastic measures to be taken to suppress this surge. 

According to Women’s Aid, one in four Irish women has been abused by a former or current partner. This includes physical, psychological and sexual abuse. As well as this, one in five women has specifically been sexually abused by their partner. If these statistics are not shocking enough, Women’s Aid found that nine out of ten women who are violently murdered know the killer personally, with 55% being killed by a partner or an ex-partner. 

These figures illustrate a real problem within our patriarchal society, and unfortunately, the number of reports are only increasing. New figures show that the Gardai received approximately 43,000 calls, which is a 16% increase from 2019. 

You may be wondering, what is causing this rise in domestic violence? It has been found that global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can have a direct impact on domestic violence. Factors such as unemployment, social isolation and relationship conflict are almost always behind cases of domestic abuse. Unfortunately enough, all three of these were common enough amidst the pandemic. 

With the unemployment rate at almost 10%, bans on social gatherings and being locked up in your house, it’s clear to see why the pandemic has had this enormous impact. Other factors such as increased alcohol consumption, due to the switch to working from home, have been shown to have an effect on this surge. 

The Irish Government, and Governments around the world, have been attempting to stop this worrying increase in reports. Phone apps and hand signals have been developed to help victims safely report abuse, without alerting their abusers. Though, is this enough? 

Under the Istanbul Convention, governments around Europe agreed on providing refuge spaces for victims of domestic abuse. Ireland chose the option of providing approximately 490 refuge spaces, which could I add, was the lesser of two options. However, the Irish government has not even done this- with only 141 spaces currently available, according to Aoibhneas. The government has failed to provide for women, yet again, which is unjustifiable.  

There is much left to be done, in an attempt to make Irish society safer for women and to stop this rise in domestic violence. With the government discussing another potential lockdown, we need answers for what will be done to protect women and provide us with the services we need, in order to break this cycle.

hi!! my name is sarah + i'm deputy editor of HerCampus DCU. i'm a first year communications studies student :)
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