Report shows at least a third of women found Gardaí 'unhelpful' when reporting domestic abuse

Margaret Martin.

More than 19,000 cases of abuse were reported to Women's Aid in 2017.

Its annual report shows just under 16,000 were domestic violence incidents against women, with 3,500 involving child abuse.

Up to 28% of women said they were being abused by an ex-partner or husband.

Women's Aid is calling for improvements in how the criminal justice system deals with complainants, including better Garda training.

Director, Margaret Martin, outlines some of the disturbing stories they have heard in the last year.

Ms Martin said: "The kind of disclosures that we hear about are physical abuse, women being beaten, mothers being strangled and hospitalised.

"There was a number of women telling to us that they were choked, beaten and threatened with weapons and also women who were beaten while they were pregnant.

"There is very serious physical abuse here."

Survivor Emma Murphy is urging others in similar situations to seek help.

She said: "My biggest fear is that the world is just going to crumble down and we won't be able to survive without the perpetrator.

"Life does go on and it will be difficult, but we just want to get out that they can get through it."

The report also shows that over a third of women who reported domestic violence to Gardaí last year found them "unhelpful".

Linda Smith, Manager for Women’s Aid's 24-hour national freephone Helpline, says it leaves women very vulnerable and frightened.

Ms Smith said: "If you make the call to the Guards and when they call, you are not believed or they leave you with the perpetrator in your home where the abuse had been perpetrated against you.

"That door closes, you can get what is going to happen is not going to be nice."

- Digital Desk

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