2,018 women and 550 children accessed domestic abuse support each month in second lockdown

ireland
2,018 Women And 550 Children Accessed Domestic Abuse Support Each Month In Second Lockdown
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Kenneth Fox

On average, at least 2,018 women and 550 children received support from a domestic violence service each month from September to December 2020, according to Safe Ireland’s new report.

Their new 'Tracking the Shadow Pandemic – Lockdown 2 report' which was published today, shows that November was the busiest month of the four-month period.

When Ireland was at the height of its second Level 5 lockdown, over 2,180 women and 602 children received support from a dedicated domestic violence service.

Over 2,445 new women and 486 new children contacted a domestic violence service for the very first time in these four months.

This equates to 611 new women and 122 new children every month, or 20 new women and 4 children every day, who had, as far as is known, never contacted a service before.

The statistics for the latter part of 2020 were higher generally than those reported over the first six months of the pandemic.

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The first Safe Ireland 'Tracking the Shadow Pandemic' report, which covered the six month period between March and August 2020, showed that at least 1,970 women and 411 children received support each month.

Helpline calls were also up on average over the second part of the year.

Domestic violence services answered 23,336 helpline calls over the period, an average of 191 calls a day, up slightly from 184 calls a day in the first six months of the pandemic.

Enormous pressure

Speaking about the report, Mary McDermott, chief executive of Safe Ireland, said “Even in an extraordinary time of crisis, these numbers were shocking. Adequate resources and creative solutions are needed to respond to the needs of women but also the needs of the frontline emergency professionals responding to them.”

She said since last March, their 39 frontline-service member organisations have been working under enormous pressure to respond to those fleeing domestic abuse.

She added “This frontline work cannot stop. It can take no breaks. From these figures we can see that somewhere, every day, in this small country, there is a woman, most often with children, looking to escape abuse and violence.”

“Our message to survivors remains clear and steadfast. You do not have to live in an oppressive home. You do not have to endure abuse and control. There is professional support available in your community."

According to Safe Ireland, on average 167 women and 265 children stayed in a range of domestic violence accommodation (range of refuge, safe homes and supported housing) each month between September and December.

This is slightly down on those in accommodation over the first six months.

In total, 808 requests for refuge could not be met in the four months because there was no space. This equates to 7 requests per day on average, slightly down on the first six months.

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