Survivors speak out to reveal ‘true domestic abuse crisis in Ireland’

ireland
Survivors Speak Out To Reveal ‘True Domestic Abuse Crisis In Ireland’ Survivors Speak Out To Reveal ‘True Domestic Abuse Crisis In Ireland’
Breaches of court protection orders in domestic abuse cases more than doubled during the pandemic. Photo: PA Images
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Survivors of domestic abuse in Ireland are speaking publicly about its “devastating” consequences, as breaches of court protection orders in domestic abuse cases more than doubled during the pandemic.

An RTÉ Investigates documentary, filmed over the last 12 months amid a fourfold increase in emergency calls from survivors seeking shelter, reveals the “true domestic abuse crisis in Ireland,” the broadcaster said.

The programme features survivors of domestic abuse, with some speaking publicly for the first time about coercive control, repeated patterns of domestic violence, femicide and the “traumatising” justice system.

Also speaking are the respective sisters of Siobhan McLaughlin from Goatstown, Dublin and Lisa Doyle from Kilkenny who were murdered by their partners.

Shelter staff have also told of the daily struggle to keep women and children safe, because a shortage in refuge places means they are forced to live with their abusers.

Breaches

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It comes as new figures show the number of breaches of court protection orders, designed to protect victims of domestic abuse from their abusers, increased by more than 60 per cent during the two years of lockdowns when compared with the years before.

In 2018 and 2019 there were 2,504 breaches of these orders reported, but that number increased to 4,072 during the first two years of the pandemic.

Just 278 of these cases led to imprisonment, representing six per cent of the breaches recorded. However, the actual number of offenders jailed was smaller again because some offenders were imprisoned for more than one breach of an order.

Further information supplied by the Prison Service reveals that the actual number of offenders who were jailed for breaching a domestic abuse order last year was 137. This was an increase on the previous year’s total of 99.

RTÉ Investigates - Domestic Abuse, A Year Of Crisis will broadcast tonight on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, email helpline@womensaid.ie) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01 554 3811, email hello@mensaid.ie) for support and information.

Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at safeireland.ie/get-help/where-to-find-help/.

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