Working for Safer Homes and Safer Communities – Coercive Control Expert Evan Stark to Visit Ireland in December 2018

Safe Ireland is delighted to be hosting world renowned Professor Emeritus Evan Stark and other leading experts in domestic violence at a series of conferences, meetings and information sessions with professionals, survivors and advocates this December.

Increasing understanding

As part of a wider strategy to create safer homes and safer communities the public events will be a great opportunity to support professionals across disciplines to improve responses to domestic violence. Participants will be empowered with a greater understanding of what coercive control is while also strengthening their professional capacity to help recognise and respond more effectively to domestic violence. The events will also provide information relating to new measures in Irish legislation that are set to commence in 2019.

Multidisciplinary Conferences around Ireland

Safe Ireland is collaborating with a number of organisations to co-host a series of multidisciplinary conferences around Ireland. The conference ‘Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control‘ with Professor Emeritus Evan Stark, leading UK domestic violence expert Davina James Hanman and Irish legal expert Caroline Counihan will take place in both Sligo (12th December) and Clare (14th December).

Professor Stark will also speak in Dublin at the Strengthening Responses Conference being run by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services in association with Safe Ireland.


In Sligo, Safe Ireland will co-host ‘Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control‘ a one day conference with DVAS on December 12th, in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo. For more information and to book your place, click here.


In Clare, Safe Ireland will co-host ‘Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control‘ a one day conference with the Clare Women’s Network on December 14th, in Ennis (venue to be confirmed). For further information and to book your place, click here.


Professor Evan Stark will also be speaking in conjunction with Safe Ireland at the ‘Strengthening Responses Conference’ being hosted by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Service in Dublin on December 3rd, more information can be found here.

If you would like any further information on any of the events happening throughout December please contact




Change will only start when we believe women who report violence, says Safe Ireland on eve of international Summit

On the eve of the biggest event on gender equality and gender-based violence to take place in Europe this year, Safe Ireland said that the first fundamental step to bringing about transformative change in the way society addresses domestic and sexual violence is to believe women who report violence.

The national social change agency working to eradicate domestic violence, hosting the international Summit, was blunt in its assessment that what we are doing as a society currently to address gender-based violence is not working.

The Safe Ireland Safe World Summit is taking place in The Mansion House on Monday and Tuesday, October 22nd and 23rd.  Over 35 world leading activists, advocates, lawyers, historians, journalists, and survivors are coming to Dublin to explore the meaningful solutions that are needed to support women and children experiencing violence.

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that there was a long history of silencing and ignoring women’s voices in Ireland and across the globe, and that this had to stop.  Silence, she said, is the universal condition of oppression and inequality.

“Our members work with women who have had their children removed because they were not believed,” she said.  “We work with women who are under threat of their children being taken away on a daily basis by court mandated state agencies.  We work with women who have been abused and raped and then told to go home to their rapists.”

“We have seen in just the last week in our courts here in Ireland that serious offences that happen within intimate partner relationships are excused and minimised, with the needs and sensitivities of the perpetrator being put before the women and children who have been the victims of horrific assault.”

“A few weeks ago in the United States we saw that the default position of dominant power structures like politics is still a resounding ‘believe the man’,” she said.  We need our leaders to stand up and say, I believe her.”

She said that the root of all violence is in the home.

“We know that not everyone is born into or lives in a safe home but we haven’t figured out how to talk about it,” O’Halloran said.  “For too many women and children the home is a place of abusive tyranny and domination.”

Safe Ireland is hosting the international Summit in Ireland because it wants to place Ireland at the centre of the world’s possibility to transform violence against women and violence in the home particularly.   It believes that with the commencement and adequate resourcing of the new Domestic Violence Act 2018, and with political leadership Ireland can be a leading global example.

The Safe World Summit starts at 9 am on Monday, October 23rd with a symbolic opening ceremony when 50 survivors and young people will bring in light to the Round Room.  The morning session will hear from Dr. Edith Eger, a 91 Auschwitz survivor; Kathleen Chada, whose two young sons were murdered by their father; Luke and Ryan Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by their father; Davina James Hanman, an expert on coercive control, and Robert Jensen, a US based journalism professor who will talk about the end of patriarchy. 

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Safe Ireland Says There is An Urgent Need for Stronger Sentencing for Partner Violence As Provided in new DV Act

Domestic Violence Agency saddened but not surprised at leniency of sentence in recent case and calls for DPP to consider an appeal.

Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working to eradicate domestic violence, said that reports today that a man walked free from court following a serious assault on his partner underlined the urgent need for an enhanced sentencing regime to recognise the seriousness of the violence and the breach of trust that is at the heart of intimate partner violence.

The agency, which has 37 frontline member organisations, called for the swift commencement of the new Domestic Violence Act 2018, which recognises, for the first time, that violence within an intimate relationship is an aggravating factor for sentencing.

It was responding today to reports that a man who hit his wife twice across the head after dragging her upstairs and removing her jeans by force, was given a suspended sentence and walked free from court.

The agency also suggested that the DPP should consider appealing the sentencing on the grounds of undue leniency, which is within the powers of the office.

“We are saddened but not surprised at the leniency of the sentence in this case,” said Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland.  “But, unfortunately, it is not unusual.  We have comprehensive evidence from survivors across the country that domestic violence is more often than not regarded as a mitigating factor in our courts rather than being seen for what it is – a serious assault and a serious crime.”

“The outcome of this case – which is just one case before our courts – underlines how important it is that the new Domestic Violence Act is commenced as soon as possible.  It is a ground-breaking piece of legislation that recognises violence within an intimate relationship as a greater offence, not one that can be excused or rationalised away.”

O’Halloran described the home as the last institution in Ireland to be opened up, examined and recognised as abusive tyrannies of domination for many women and children.  Until we see violence in the home as an offence that cannot be excused, at any level, we will not be in a position as a society to eradicate the misery and trauma it causes, she said.

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

Domestic Violence Costing the Economy More than Previously Thought

Agency urges politicians to keep watch for vital investments that can transform women’s lives

Safe Ireland, the national agency working to eradicate domestic violence in Ireland, delivered a Budget Watch to all TDs and Senators today, to urge them to monitor Budget 2019 for the delivery of five essential measures of care and progress for women and children living with violence.

The agency said that the minimum additional investment needed in 2019 to address the urgent needs of victims of domestic violence is €35 million. The agency now knows, from new research currently being carried out with NUI Galway, that is just a tiny fraction of the enormous estimated annual cost of domestic violence to the economy every year.

Up to now, the often-cited figure on economic costs for domestic violence is €2.2 billion a year.  This is based on a 2006 Council of Europe study which looked at costs across areas like policing, health bills, lost productivity and court proceedings.

New Safe Ireland/NUI Galway research on the estimated cost of domestic violence in Ireland is indicating that the cost could actually be far greater than previously thought.  The research is looking at the economic and social costs of domestic violence across three phases of a survivor’s journey, from living within the abusive relationship to relocation and recovery. 

“Domestic violence is more than a human rights violation and public health issue, By exploring its wider economic and social impact, we highlight the often invisible or ignored consequences for individuals, households, the community and society,” said Dr. Caroline Forde, Researcher at the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway.

Safe Ireland called particularly for a specific, ring-fenced allocation of €15 million in the housing budget to fund and target initiatives to support women and families to access stable housing.  It is widely acknowledged that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children. 

“It’s really easy maths.  If you allocate adequate and targeted resources to prevention and support for survivors of domestic violence, you save lives, restore futures and save billions,” Caitriona Gleeson, Programme Manager with Safe Ireland said.  “If you don’t address it and work around the edges as we have done for decades in Ireland, it continues to cost us all and leaves women and children at greater risk of revictimisation, trauma and poorer life outcomes.”

Safe Ireland said that Ireland now has some of the most ground-breaking and progressive legislation in the world designed to protect and support survivors of domestic violence.  However, legislation has to be backed up by adequate and targeted funding if it is to make a difference to people’s lives, it said.


Five Measures of Care and Progress in Budget 2019


1.     Safe Homes: Specific ring-fenced allocation of funding and targeted initiatives for survivors of domestic violence.

Investment Needed:   €15 million

2.     Sustainable Support Services: Increase refuge and support services so that they are accessible throughout the country, upgrade facilities, bring pay and conditions of low paid professionals up to 2018 levels, breaking a pay freeze that has been in place since 2009.

Investment Needed:   €20 million

3.     Training and Awareness: Targeted and specific training and awareness training for frontline responders.

Investment Needed:   €2 million 

4.     Trauma and Recovery: Development of special trauma response service.

Investment Needed:   €8 million

5.     Resource our legislation: Increase resources allocated to justice and victim support services to implement the new DV Act and Victims Directive.

No access to cost of increasing trained personnel across other services

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-29395207


Applications for bursaries to attend the Safe World Summit now open

Update:  The application process for bursaries to the Safe World Summit is now closed. We are delighted to have been able to respond to over 100 requests to attend the Summit. If you have further queries please contact

Are you a survivor, responder, supporter or activist who would like to attend the Safe World Summit but you cannot afford the ticket price?

The Safe World Summit happening this October is a once in a lifetime event, designed to bring together thought leaders, innovators, change makers and warriors from across industries, social causes and life experiences to focus on ending violence against women.

We are working to make the Safe World Summit as accessible as possible to a wide audience. We are actively fundraising to make bursaries available to cover the ticket price for the many people who want to attend the full two-day event but are not able to afford to buy a ticket.

To apply for a bursary, please complete this form.

Bursaries will be awarded subject to availability.

The closing date for applications is 10th October at 5pm.

Bursaries are available for those aged 26 and over, who are ordinarily resident in the Republic/Northern Ireland.

We are also working with to ensure a high participation of young people at the Safe World Summit. If you are aged between 16 – 25 and would like to attend the Summit please apply through who are taking applications. You can find more information here.

Please note that the bursary will only cover the ticket cost to the two-day Summit. It does not include travel, accommodation or food costs.

Safe Ireland partners with to invite young people to the Safe World Summit

Safe Ireland is delighted to partner with to invite young people from across the country to attend The Safe World Summit. Together we believe it is possible to make our homes and communities free of gender based violence, but we need the help of young people to make this dream a reality.

If you are aged between 16-25 years old, living in Ireland, and would like to attend The Safe World Summit 2018, please click here to apply through for a ticket to Summit.

Safe Ireland and hope you will join us for this global gathering of thought leaders, innovators, and status quo disruptors, so that together we can understand new ways to heal, build resilience and restore the balance of equality. If you have further questions or concerns please email

World Leading Pioneers and Activists Will Descend on Dublin for International Safe World Summit Next Month

Safe Ireland today announced the line-up of world renowned speakers for its upcoming Safe World Summit, which is seen as one of the most important events on gender equality and ending gender based violence on the global calendar this year.

Safe Ireland also confirmed that it is in close contact with the office of the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MP to secure her attendance at the Dublin Summit.  Ms Sturgeon’s leadership is regarded as being pivotal to the many pioneering cultural and institutional changes that have moved her country closer to eradicating violence against women, in particular partner violence.

The Safe World Summit will take place in just over four weeks’ time on October 22nd and 23rd in Dublin’s Mansion House. The 2018 event follows the highly successful inaugural 2016 Safe Ireland Summit which was credited as a catalyst for many positive developments in Ireland, including the recognition of the offence of coercive control in the new Domestic Violence Act 2018. Safe Ireland is the national social change agency working to make Ireland the safest country in the world for women and children.

The Summit will also be attended by Dr Edith Eger, celebrated Holocaust Survivor, Clinical Psychologist and Author of the international and Ireland’s current best-selling book ‘The Choice: Embrace the Impossible.’  This will Dr Eger’s first speaking trip to Ireland and one of a few to Europe.  Other speakers making their first trip to Ireland include survivors and activists Luke and Ryan Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by their father, and activist Marai Larasi, who accompanied actress Emma Watson to the Golden Globes in recognition of her work for ethnic minority women.

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland said that many international speakers have made the decision to travel to Dublin because of the emphasis on equality, safety, healing and love central to the Safe World event. Safe Ireland believes that Ireland is ideally placed to play a leading role in re-shaping a world that is safe and equal again.

“Our Summit is happening as a time when we are witnessing a regressive resurgence of domination and fear politics across Europe and the world,” Sharon O’Halloran said. “We know from dark periods of history that fear and domination politics enables abuse of power and control in intimate relationships.”

“At this crucial time, we need to understand more about the links between the global problem of gender based violence and the impact of the trauma it leaves in our homes and communities. We have to develop a whole new world view that is built on equality, tolerance, safety and love.  This means designing and implementing innovative new solutions that address the inequality that is at the root of violence, abuse and fear.  And this must start with addressing violence, dominance, control and fear in the home.”

Safe Ireland said that it is delighted to be partnering with to ensure that there is active youth engagement throughout the Summit.

“Young people play a particularly important role in ending gender based violence in our communities,” said Kiki Martire,’s Outreach and Training Officer. “Many grow up with violence themselves and they often lack the same access to support and services as those older than them. And, of course, younger people will be the ones to lead the charge to change our culture and end this violence in the future. This is why is particularly excited to bring the young people we engage with to the table this October so that all at the Safe Ireland Summit can learn from their fresh and necessary perspectives.”

Other renowned international speakers include Dr. Riane Eisler, gender equality pioneer and systems scientist, lawyer and author; Lynn Rosenthal, the former White House Advisor to President Barack Obama on Violence Against Women; and Robert Jensen, Professor Emeritus of Journalism and author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.

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

For more information about the Safe World Summit and to purchase tickets for the two-day event, go to


It’s going to be unforgettable

Here’s a taste of the over 30 speakers confirmed so far for the Safe Ireland Safe World Summit.

Dr Edith Eger, Holocaust Survivor, Clinical Psychologist & Best Selling Author ‘The Choice: Embrace the Possible’

Dr Riane Eisler, Gender Equality Pioneer, Systems Scientist, advocate for caring economies, International Best Seller, Author of groundbreaking books including ‘The Real Wealth of Nations’ and ‘The Chalice and the Blade’

Marai Larasi, Executive Director of Imkaan and Co-Chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (UK), who accompanied Emma Watson to the Golden Globes this year.

Lynn Rosenthal, Former US White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

Mona Eltahawy, Award-Winning Columnist ‘Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution’

Robert Jenson, Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin, and author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.

Helen Walmsley Johnson, Author of ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, Columnist and Survivor who experienced coercive control by a “smiling” abuser, twice.

Luke and Ryan Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by their father, and who have become strong survivor advocates against violence against women.

Insia Dariwala, Award Winning Filmmaker and Activist, Founder of the Hands of Hope Foundation in India, advocate against the abuse of girls and boys and activist against Female Genital Cutting.

Monica Ramirez, Activist, Author, Civil Rights Attorney who has focused her work on ending gender-based violence in the workplace for Latina and immigrant women.

Marsha Scott, Chief Executive at Scottish Women’s Aid

Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director, The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University

Winnie M Li, Writer and Activist

Clara Rose Thornton, Spoken Word Artist

Ailbhe Smth, Feminist, Activist and LGBT campaigner, co-director of the Together for Yes campaign to repeal the 8th amendment, leading campaigner for Marriage Equality referendum.

Suzanne Connolly, Survivor and Advocate, who waited 34 years to see her abuser, her adoptive father, sentenced in court.

Kathleen Chada, Survivor and Activist, whose two sons were murdered by their father and who now campaigns through the group SAVE for tougher sentences for perpetrators.

Rebooting the Domestic Violence Revolution

On July 12th 2018, Safe Ireland hosted an event to mark the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act 2018 and to launch Resolve, our new Legal Information and Advocacy Service. 

Criminalising coercive control in the home will help keep women alive but it has to be implemented

Criminalising coercive control represents a coming of age in Ireland’s understanding of domestic violence but it has to be implemented if it is to save lives, a Safe Ireland Seminar looking at new responses for a safer Ireland heard today.


Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that the creation of the criminal offence of coercive control in the new Domestic Violence Act 2018 is transformative and will help change culture in Ireland.


She welcomed the Government’s commitment to prioritising the commencement of the Act into law.  However, she said that it had to be followed up by three types of further convictions: “Firstly, convictions in courtrooms, crucially, conviction by the State to resource supports and training, and finally, conviction by each one of us to know what role we can play to respond effectively.”


She warned that domestic violence is too often escaping the attention of the community and of agencies, including those in social care and policing, because coercive control has not been taken seriously or has been minimised.


“For too long we have been having too small a conversation about too big a problem,” she said.  “If you wait for a severe injury before you identify domestic violence, then you are going to miss 98 per cent of cases. Coercive control forces us to focus not only on incidents of physical violence but on the cumulative patterns of abuse and the denial of human rights that is at the core of domestic violence.”


Safe Ireland also called on the Government to introduce domestic homicide reviews, to support the implementation of the new Domestic Violence Act, to increase understanding of how we can prevent fatalities. In the UK, coercive control has been recognised as a serious offence since 2015, where research has shown that coercive control was seen in 92% of domestic killings.


In addition, it launched Resolve – its new dedicated legal information and advocacy service to support women’s access to justice and the legal remedies soon to be open to them under the new Act.  Safe Ireland noted particularly that more research is needed to understand the responses needed for men experiencing violence in relationships.


O’Halloran said that Ireland has to take on the last “sacred” institution in Ireland – the home –  if it was serious about creating a society that is safe and equal for all.


“For decades, we have side-stepped, dodged and ducked taking on the last institution in Irish society – the home,” she said.  “Until we commit to this fully, we will not take on domestic violence.  We will continue to focus on the fabrication of danger to women from outside the home, rather than accepting that the real danger is from within.”


“This fabrication means that 79% of women do not report the tyrannies they are living in. It means that services are only working with eight to 12 percent of women and children experiencing domestic violence, unable to meet all their needs because they are not resourced to do so.”


Coercive control is a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other psychological or emotional abuse that is used to control and limit the freedom of an intimate partner or a family member.


In Ireland, one in three (31% or over 470,000) Irish women have experienced some form of psychological violence by a partner, according to a major EU wide study in 2014.  Every year, over 10,000 women and 3,600 children seek support and safety from abusive men.


The Seminar also looked at other criminal and civil law considerations and implications within the new DV Act, including the introduction of statutory guidance for judges in making DVA orders and the recognition that violence within intimate relationships is an aggravating factor in sentencing.


For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Safe World Summit Early Bird Tickets

Early Bird tickets for the Safe World Summit are now on sale. Priced at €295, these tickets will be on sale until July 31st or until they are sold out.

Don’t delay, get your ticket now!