Safe Ireland welcomes new awareness campaign on domestic violence

Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working with 38 member domestic services across the county, welcomed the timely, new Government awareness and information campaign on domestic violence, which was announced today, Friday April 10th

Sharon O’Halloran, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, said that the campaign comes at a critical time for women and children who may be confined and isolated with their abuser. It is understood that TV and radio ads will broadcast next week.

Safe Ireland has been one of the specialist frontline partners involved in the initiative, which she said was creative and strong in its message to survivors and communities that professional frontline supports are open and operating. 

She said, from regular zoom meetings with all members over the past few weeks, that there was clear evidence that abusers were using Covid-19 as a weapon of control.  While some services are reporting that they are very busy, many others are also noticing that helplines are quieter than they would expect. 

“The silence is ominous,” O’Halloran said.  “Our greatest concern, four weeks into this pandemic, is that women are finding it much more difficult to make contact for support. Previously women may have contacted services when they or their partners were at work or out of the house, or when children were in school. Those little windows of freedom are being cut down.” 

She said that in these stressful circumstances that it was more important than ever that there was a strong community response to domestic violence. 

“During Covid-19 we are being reminded that we are all in this together. The response to domestic violence can be no different. We are asking people to be vigilant, to keep in touch with friends and family, to be aware that homes may not be safe and to be her voice in looking for support at a time when she may not be able to use her voice.” 

She also stressed that a strong awareness campaign must matched with solid and reliable State funding so that services can be resourced to continue to re-home women or keep them safe in their homes.  Safe Ireland has made a case to Government on behalf of its member services for €1.6 million to enable the sector to manage this crisis adequately. 

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Safe Ireland mourns loss of dedicated campaigner for women and children

Safe Ireland, the social change agency collaborating with 38 domestic violence services around the country working to prevent and reduce domestic violence, express their condolences on the passing of Norah Gibbons, former Chair of Tusla, the national Child and Family Agency. 

Ireland has lost a tireless campaigner for the safety and rights of women and children with her untimely death, it said.

Mary McDermott, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, said that Norah’s dogged pursuit of the need for both state and society to recognise that disadvantaged and vulnerable families and children need high-level dedicated resources and specialised responses was a key contribution to the development of vital support infrastructures in this country.  

She commended Norah’s leadership on the ongoing study on domestic homicide reviews and her commitment to this work to the very end. 

“Norah understood the vital importance of safe and supported homes, for adults and children, as key to a stable, free and progressive society. Her intolerance for the way in which Ireland has, in the past, mistreated and abandoned so many women and children, particularly because they were poor or vulnerable, was exemplary.” 

Safe Ireland extends its sympathies to Norah’s immediate family and her wider family circle as well as her colleagues and many friends. 

For more information contact: 

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Growing concern that the needs of domestic abuse victims are being overlooked in national response to Covid-19

Nearly four weeks into the Covid-19 crisis, Safe Ireland today said that it was growing increasingly concerned that key Government agencies are failing to respond adequately and in a timely manner to the urgent and practical needs of women and children experiencing domestic abuse and coercive control.

Safe Ireland is the national social change agency working with 38 member domestic violence services across the country.

The agency has submitted a proposal for emergency funding of €1.6 million to Government to ensure that services can respond adequately to the needs of women and children at this unique time. However, there has been no definite response.

In contrast, in the UK and Scotland, domestic violence services were allocated emergency funding as a priority government response to the virus. The emergency funding would be used to help accommodate women safely within the community, to ensure PPE, necessary technology and to provide for adequate professional staff throughout the crisis.

“We have an untenable situation at the moment, where women and children are living in communal refuges, with shared kitchens and bathrooms,” said Sharon O’Halloran, Safe Ireland Co-CEO. “These are potential sites for an outbreak of Covid-19. The women and children in these refuges should be moved into safe, self-contained accommodation as part of  the emergency national response.”

“Overall the capacity of our emergency accommodation services is down about 20% because we have to leave some units as isolation spaces,” she continued. “We need to be thinking creatively and at a national level about how we can accommodate all women and children safely when they look for support, particularly as the weeks of containment and isolation progress.”

She suggested that this might mean identifying Airbandb accommodation or other housing stock in the community.  Resources are urgently needed from the government to make this happen, she said.

Last Friday, the agency also submitted a proposal to the Department of Social Protection that women and children in need of immediate relocation as a result of domestic violence are facilitated to access emergency rent supplement for a period of three months and/or the duration of the Covid-19 emergency.

Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children. Housing instability is four times more likely for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Safe Ireland welcomes Garda prioritisation of domestic abuse and coercive control

Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working with 38 domestic violence services across the country, said that An Garda Síochána’s pro-active operation (Operation Faoisimh) to help and support victims of domestic abuse and coercive control was a welcome and re-assuring initiative that sends a clear message to both victims and abusers.

 

Sharon O’Halloran, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, stressed that services around the country were also operating and available for women and children.  She said that they had so far experienced varied demands on their services.  Some had seen an increase in calls from women and children while others had not yet.  She said that the silences and some decrease in calls was as concerning as evidence of increases. Given the lockdown, services sense that some women may be unable to reach out for the support in this crisis. 

 

They may not have the freedom and space to contact services because of living in constant close proximity to abusers or because children were in the house or they may feel that their situation is not an urgent one in comparison to the coronavirus health crisis, she explained.

 

“This unequivocal commitment by An Garda Síochána cuts across any uncertainty that might exist,” O’Halloran said. “It is telling women who are trapped and isolated with abusive partners that they are important and that their safety is a national priority. It is also sending a clear message to abusers that domestic abuse and coercive control is a serious crime at all times.”

 

She also said that the Garda action underlined that domestic abuse and coercive control requires a community response.

 

“Operation Faoisimh is also telling us all as a community that we can be looking out for our sisters, friends and neighbours and that if we are concerned about somebody we care about that we too can call the Gardaí,” she continued. “Domestic abuse and coercive control is a crime that affects every community and it needs a community response to help police it and end it.”

 

She welcomed that the initiative will utilise the Garda Victim Services Office nationwide to facilitate phone contact with previous victims of domestic violence to ascertain any existing issues of concern saying that this highlighted the Garda understanding that domestic abuse and coercive control can last a lifetime.

 

For more information contact:​Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

National domestic violence agency keeping an update on services available for women and children in absence of government directive

Safe Ireland is concerned that the needs of vulnerable women and children in refuge or now confined in their homes are not being considered adequately in the national response.

Safe Ireland today said that it is working closely with its domestic violence service members around the country to ensure that women and children are kept fully informed about the services and refuges that are available to them throughout this time of national emergency.

Safe Ireland will be keeping a rolling update on services on its website safeireland.ie.  Women are also urged to ring the National 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 and local 24-hour helplines if they need immediate support. 

The national social change agency working to end domestic violence said that it was concerned that domestic violence was, to date, “structurally invisible” in the national response to coronavirus. Safe Ireland said that it is ready to work with all relevant state departments to work on creative and appropriate solutions for women who need to leave their homes in these unprecedented times.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager, said that while people have been advised to work and stay at home, it was important to be cognisant that home is often the least safe place for women and children living with domestic violence.  The pressures of confinement and isolation could also exacerbate the risk of coercive control and domestic abuse.

“We are concerned that the needs of women and children living with domestic abuse have been overlooked to date in the government’s response to Covid-19,” she said. “This is a very vulnerable group for whom home is often the least safe place to be confined to or isolated within. Yet, they have not been considered, it would seem.”

“We know from our data that on any one day, our services are working with up to 800 women and children,” she continued. “It is vital that women know that these vital frontline services continue to be available to them through this extraordinary time. Some services may have to curtail activity and we are working with our members on a daily basis to support continuity.  We will be doing everything we can to support women and to ensure women know what services are available and how they can access them.”

For more information contact: Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

10,782 women and 2,572 children receive support from a domestic violence service in one year – latest national statistics

Empty promises and recycled budgets will not respond to the needs of women and children living with domestic abuse and coercive control says Safe Ireland. 

Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working to end domestic violence, presented its latest national annual statistics today which show that 10,782 women and 2,572 children received support from a domestic violence support service in 2018.

In addition, 53,627 helpline calls were answered by domestic violence support services, or an average of 147 calls for support every day in 2018.  This includes 19,000 calls to the national helpline, operated by Women’s Aid with over 34,000 being responded to by services throughout the country.  Over the year, services providing refuge were unable to provide accommodation for 3,256 requests because they were full – that’s an average of 9 requests which had to be refused every day 

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that while the numbers of women and children looking for safety continued to be shocking, dealing with the unreported prevalence of domestic abuse and coercive control was an enormous concern.  Research shows that just 8% of women who experience coercive control and domestic abuse currently look for support from a domestic violence service.  Safe Ireland presented the new statistics at a meeting of its 38 services, coinciding with International Human Rights Day. 

She said that the Government was continuing to starve the professional domestic services of the funding and resources they need to deal with the numbers and the trauma of the experiences of the women and children coming forward.  She pointed out that the Government had not provided any additional funding for the domestic violence sector in Budget 2020.  She also said that much of the budget that the Government claimed as investment was in reality a combination of prior commitments and recycled announcements.

“Recycled budget announcements and grand statements of commitment will do very little for the women and children coming to our services every day, O’Halloran said.  “They will do even less for the women and children who have not come forward yet and who continue to live in homes of terror.”

“We have a network of domestic violence support services that is fragile and creaking,” she continued.  The only reason it continues to provide the expert supports it does is because it is staffed by dedicated and extraordinary professionals who are hard-wired to help.  But hard-wired to help is no longer enough when we are dealing with an epidemic of domestic abuse and coercive control.”

“Our services must be resourced properly so that they can respond to the levels of trauma they are working with every day, and beyond that they need to be resourced to deal with the women and children we have a duty to encourage to continue to come forward,” she said.

O’Halloran explained that during the last recession, funding to domestic violence services was significantly cut.  However demand for services and the need for responses to more complex cases continued to increase.  The infrastructure has never fully recovered and has never been properly resourced to recover from eight years of austerity, she said, adding that many professionals within the services were now also struggling to maintain and recruit staff because of the low pay parity within the sector.

The statistics are not directly comparable with the last national statistics gathered in 2016 because the numbers of services is different. However, indications are that overall numbers coming forward are slightly up.  In 2016, 10,101 women looked for support and 50,551 helpline calls were responded to. 

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

 

Increasing numbers and increasing complexity

·       10,782 Individual women received support from DV support services.

·       2,572 individual children received support from DV support services.

·       53,627 helpline calls were answered by DV support services.

·       3,256 unmet requests for refuge because the services were full.

·       9,971 individual women received a wide range of face-to-face supports.

·       1,138 were accommodated and receive a range of supports in refuge.

·       1,667 individual children stayed in refuge.

·       1,385 children received non-accommodation supports.

·       948 children were under the age of 5.

 

The national annual statistics were recorded by Safe Ireland through data collection from 36 frontline specialist support services in Ireland for women and their children who are or have experienced domestic abuse and coercive control. Safe Ireland carried out extensive follow up checks to maximise the accuracy of the final data set. 

New Man Up West Campaign On Domestic Abuse Launches Across Connacht This Week

This week sees the launch of a new inspiring and brave campaign to harness the voices, concerns and activism of men and boys across the West of Ireland to play their role in helping to change the face of domestic violence and coercive control in the province.  Man Up West coincides with the global 16 days of action against violence against women.

Man Up West is a Safe Ireland campaign.  Man Up was originally launched as a national campaign in 2012 and ran for many years with champions ranging from rugby star Rob Kearney to broadcaster Ryan Tubridy.  However, this is the first time that the campaign has focused on a specific region.  This year, it is reaching out specifically to younger men in the West, inviting them to stand with their partners, sisters, friends and mothers against domestic abuse and coercive control.

Safe Ireland is the national social change agency working to end domestic abuse and coercive control.  It collaborates with 38 domestic violence support organisations across the country.

Man Up West is rooted in evidence.  Safe Ireland undertook preliminary research on attitudes to gender equality, roles and responsibilities and awareness and attitudes to domestic abuse and coercive control.  In focus groups held in the West of Ireland, this research found that “lad culture” is an issue of particular concern to younger women, and one that is often excused by mothers and fathers.

It also found, however, that, overall, more progressive attitudes towards gender equality and roles are often found in more rural regions, including Connacht.  In addition, it indicated that there is much greater awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and coercive control in more rural regions, again including Connacht, than urban areas.  Some of the most rigid views towards gender were expressed in Dublin.

“This campaign is about men and boys in the West of Ireland leading the way on helping to end the hidden terror that is domestic abuse and coercive control,” said Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland and Mayo Women’s Support Services.

“We are focusing on the West of Ireland in this campaign because we know from our research that while there would seem to be a propensity towards the continuation of a lad culture that is disrespectful of women, there is also amazing evidence that the vast majority of young men are proud to play their part in making Connacht the safest province for the women and children they live with and love.”

“This is a really exciting, positive campaign that is asking young men to call out lad culture for what it really is, which is coward culture.”

The campaign will launch on Monday, December 2nd with radio ads across regional radio stations, posters, leaflets and a social media campaign.

Men are asked to do three simple but powerful things to support the campaign:

  1. Get beyond the daft myths that sexism, domestic abuse and coercive control are out of character, or that “lads will be lads.”
  2. Speak out and tell friends, family and colleagues that disrespect, sexism or stereotyping of girls and women isn’t cool.
  3. Organise one event or day to highlight that West of Ireland men are taking the lead in calling out disrespect and abuse.

The campaign is supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland.

For more media information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2395207

More rigid views on gender equality and roles often held by younger people – new Safe Ireland research indicates

More rigid views on gender equality and roles often held by younger people – new Safe Ireland research indicates

A new research project on attitudes towards gender equality and domestic abuse indicates that a significant number of people hold traditional gender-based views of the roles and responsibilities of men and women, with some of the most traditionalist views being expressed by younger people.

Gender Matter in Ireland 2019, which was carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes for Safe Ireland, also indicates that “lad culture” is very much alive and well, with younger women in particular regarding group macho or lad behaviour as a serious and often intimidating issue that they face regularly.  Safe Ireland is the national agency working to end domestic abuse and coercive control.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, explained that they undertook this preliminary project based on international research which has led to an increasing consensus that violence against women is best understood and prevented when it is viewed through the prism of individual, group and societal attitudes towards gender equality.

The research finds that 26% of young people aged 16 to 25 think that a man should act as head of the household with one in four (25%) expressing the view that men should earn most money to support a family.  This is compared with 22% of all adults, with stronger views in the older age-group (29% and 30% respectively).

While young women acknowledge that not all young males are “lads”, they express some concern that macho behaviour may develop as the young males get older, and that there is a possibility of some becoming abusive partners.

A relatively high number of people said they believed that women are to blame for lack of respect and even abuse towards themselves.  One in seven adults (16%), increasing to one in five men (20%) express the view that women may provoke abuse against themselves.  In the focus group research, while young women regard macho or “lad culture” as a big issue, older men (all parents) generally consider it as just “natural jostling and bravado” while older women (all parents) said that young men can also be vulnerable to the way girls might dress or act.

“This research is a bit of a wake-up call to any cosy notion that Ireland’s new generation has moved beyond macho or jock culture,” she said.  “It is indicating that we need to re-think the way we are talking to our young people about respect and equality.  It also indicates that the views and actions of parents and older role-models may be reinforcing rigid views about home and societal positioning for men and women.”

 “We are seeing evidence of excusing and minimising of gendered behaviour,” she continued.  “This is most concerning because we know from international research that there is a strong intersection between attitudes towards gender equality and the risk and prevalence of gender-based abuse and coercive control.  Instead we should be to be daring to imagine that we can rear a generation that lives without experiencing violence in their homes.  This has to start with the way we think about and act on gender equality in our homes and communities.”

About 1 in four people (25%) feel that domestic violence is a private matter. This is higher than previous surveys have indicated (12% in EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) study on Violence Against Women 2014).  This view is even higher amongst males at either end of the age spectrum, and in Dublin, where the sentiment raises to nearly 1 in 3 people (32%).

The research highlights views on emotions and feelings across genders.

Almost two out of three people (64%) responded that women tend to respond to things emotionally while men respond to things more logically.  This was more strongly endorsed by men (67%). Even among women, there is a 2 to 1 endorsement of this perspective (61%:31%).

More men (24%) hold the view that men should not admit to having their feelings hurt.  This is highest amongst older men (31%) and is particularly prevalent in Dublin (31%).  By contrast, women, younger people and people in rural and from farming backgrounds are more likely to disagree.

Some of the most rigid attitudes towards gender equality, roles and responsibilities are held in urban areas, in particular Dublin, with less rigid views often found in the more rural regions of Connacht and the Rest of Leinster.  It also finds that the lowest levels of awareness of domestic violence are expressed in Dublin, with the most elevated awareness and understanding in the more rural regions.

In general, there is agreement that women’s position in society has improved, particularly in relation to having a career.  For females, the issue of the gender pay gap is significant while males consider this as less of an issue. Roles in the home are also seen to have changed. However, there is an indication that people feel that some jobs are just “more male” or “more female”, like mowing the lawn is a job for men, whereas caring for children is more suited to women.  This is not always seen as a bad thing – just that it’s “more about nature than gender.”

Gender Matters in Ireland 2019 combines quantitative and qualitative surveys, exploring attitudes towards the division of tasks in the home, equality in work, views on feelings and emotions, and on people’s awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and coercive control.  It is preliminary research and will form the basis for more in-depth research into the intersection between attitudes on gender and gender-based violence in Ireland.

The summary report can be accessed here. 

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Note to editors

Methodology: The research combines a literature review, a qualitative survey and quantitative research. The Safe Ireland questions were included on Behaviour & Attitudes July Barometer Survey (July 25th and 7th August 2019).  Interviewing was undertaken face-to-face and in-home among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 16 and over.  Given the nature of questions, people were asked whether they were happy to participate.  83% consented.  The ultimate data set has not been weighted but mirrors the national population representative sample excluding the 17% who preferred not to participate.  A series of focus groups then took place in locations in the West of Ireland.

Generation Gender Equality?

  • 26% of young people under 25 believe that a man should be head of a household. 22% of all adults feel this. 27% of men believe this, compared to 1 in 6 women (17%). The vast majority (4 out of 5) believe that gender should not be a factor.

 

  • 18% of young people under 25 believe that managing financial affairs is something that men should take the lead role in. 11% of all adults (under 1 in 8) and 16% of those over the age of 65 believe this.

 

  • Over 1 in 5 (22%) of young people under the age of 25 believe that a man should drive the car, when there is a relationship between a man and a woman, and when both can drive and are travelling together. 16%, or 1 in 7 of all adults believe this. The vast majority, 4 out of 5, feel that either gender could take the lead.

 

  • 25% of under 25s believe that a man should earn the most money to support the family. 22% of all adults believe this, elevated in older ages (30% over 65).

 

  • 17% of people, or just over 1 in 6, feel that household chores such as cooking, cleaning and laundry should be female rather than male responsibilities. 29% of over 65s and 28% of farmers think this.

 

  • Just under 1 in 5 (18%) believe that women should be the primary carers for children. A substantial number in Dublin (28%) hold this view.

 

  • Almost 2 out of 3 people (64%) agree that women tend to respond to things emotionally while men may respond more logically. This is more strongly endorsed by men (68%). Even among women, there is a 2:1 (61%:31%) endorsement of this perspective.

 

  • 20% (1 in 5) believe that it is embarrassing for a man to have a job that is usually done by a woman. This view is more likely to be held by men (27%) and in Dublin (31%).

 

  • 22% of people see that grocery shopping is the preserve of women rather than men. Adults from farming backgrounds are more likely to think this (33%).

 

In their own words

“What do they say? Boys will wreck your house and girls will wreck your head, isn’t it?  It’s just the gender difference. You can’t say it’s not equal or anything.  It’s just the way it is.”

 “You are walking down the street and getting beeped at and shouted out.  On nights out and people slapping arses and getting away with it.  If you say anything then you’re the crazy one.”

 “You would never hear a lad challenging another lad on the way he treats a girl I don’t know, or I have never seen it myself.  I think to hear a lad say it would be very different to a girl saying it.  If a girl was to turn around and say why did you do that, they would say calm down.  Whereas, if a guy said it, they might think

Budget Ignores Needs of Domestic Violence Survivors Once Again

Needs of women and children living with violence almost totally ignored for sixth year running.

Safe Ireland said that it was gravely disappointed with the lack of targeted provisions in Budget 2020 for women and children living with violence and abuse.

The national social change agency working to eradicate domestic violence said that this represented the sixth budget in a row when the needs of women and children had been almost completely ignored.

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that this was all the more disappointing given the Government’s heralded new Domestic Violence Act (commenced in early 2019) and its high-profile ratification of the Istanbul Convention on International Women’s Day.

Safe Ireland had called for the Government to commit to €30m in current expenditure across a variety of services, including funding to the Justice system and An Garda Síochána, and €20m in capital expenditure in 2020.  

While Safe Ireland welcomes the Budget provision for additional Garda recruits, the national agency said that the necessary widespread Garda training on domestic violence, recognising the new offence of coercive control, would not be provided for within presented Budget estimates.

It also said that the €29 million additional budget for Tusla was completely inadequate to ensure the investment needed by an already fragile, creaking and exhausted domestic violence infrastructure.

O’Halloran said that legislation and policy announcements would remain little more than PR stunts without adequate investment in the infrastructure and preventative measures needed every day by women and children.

“Legislation and the ratification of international conventions mean nothing if they are not backed up with proper and essential investment,” O’Halloran said.

“We are gravely disappointed that Tusla does not appear to have received adequate additional funding to allow for any meaningful investment in the maintenance and development of domestic violence services, as the critical first line response to women and children,” she continued.  “This already fragile network of specialist services and refuges is close to breaking point but this Government seems to think that this is acceptable, despite its false promises otherwise.”

Safe Ireland also said that housing provisions within the budget were extremely disappointing and completely unimaginative and would have a continuing devastating impact on women and children who are homeless once they leave their violent homes.  Housing instability is four times more likely for women who have experienced domestic violence compared with women who have not been victimised and approximately one in four homeless women cite intimate partner violence as a major contributor to their homelessness.

For more information contact: Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Needs of Women and Children Living with Violence Can’t Wait Any Longer – Safe Ireland Budget Submission

The Irish Courts Service needs serious investment.  It is creaking and struggling to respond effectively to both women and children seeking protection.

New research shows that the total average cost of domestic violence to a survivor is €115,790, delineated across three distinct phases from abuse to recovery.

Safe Ireland presented its pre-budget submission to Government today advising that budget caution cannot be used as the latest excuse for not investing adequately in the urgent needs of women and children living with violence in their homes.

The national social change agency working to prevent domestic violence in Ireland is calling on the Government to commit to €30m in current expenditure across a variety of services, including Justice and An Garda Síochána, and €20m in capital expenditure in 2020. 

It said that this was the sixth year in a row that they had repeatedly called for such an increase in current expenditure, knowing that this level of investment is a fraction of the cost of domestic violence to the state, to communities and to women and children.

Safe Ireland revealed that a new study conducted by NUI Galway and Safe Ireland is giving a clearer indication of the combined costs of domestic violence on an individual basis.  It is showing that the total average cost of domestic violence to a survivor is €115,790 delineated across three distinct phases of a woman’s journey from abuse to recovery.  Up to now, the oft-cited figure on the economic costs of domestic violence is €2.2bn per year.

“What this research is telling us is that women are being forced into poverty and economic dependence on the state,” Gleeson said.  “This dependency, in addition to their disproportionate utilisation of health and legal services, results in considerable costs for the state. Women’s capabilities and the future potential of their children who experience DV is also undermined.  Addressing DV is not only a moral imperative, it makes sound economic sense.”

The Safe Ireland submission focuses particularly on the urgent need for investment in “our creaking” courts system. The budget submission calls for €5.5 million in additional funding in the courts system to increase the number of judges appointed to hear domestic violence cases and to implement training programmes for court staff, including judges, on responding to coercive control and managing vicarious trauma.

It also calls for €10 million once-off additional budget investment for An Garda Síochána to implement a comprehensive training programme for their members.

“Gardaí are not sufficiently trained and there is a shortfall of trained officers to properly investigate coercive control,” Gleeson said.  “Based on successful models in Scotland there is clear evidence that a well-designed, resourced and coordinated training programme could result in at least 70% of Gardaí being trained within a 12 month period. In Scotland, there has been a huge cultural shift in the policing of coercive control.”

The last national statistics show that over 13,600 women and children (10,101 individual women and 3,685 individual children) received support from a domestic violence service.  However, research also shows that a massive 79% of women never report the most serious incidence of violence to the police in Ireland. Research is showing that only one woman in eight is coming forward for support from specialist services.

Safe Ireland has called for the following in Budget 2020:

·       Investment to strengthen specialist services for women and children.

·       Investment to prevent homelessness.

·       Investment to develop a world class policing and judicial response to DV survivors.

·       Investment in a national prevention programme.

The full pre-budget submission can be accessed here 

For more information contact:

Caitriona Gleeson, Tel: 087-2037177

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207