Day 3: 1 in 5 Women Suffer Domestic Abuse

One in Five Women in Ireland will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime. Domestic abuse can affect any woman and can happen in any home. This means that every day in Ireland, women are beaten, hospitalised and can have ongoing and long-term physical and mental health issues. Every day, women are raped, sexually abused and have no freedom to negotiate a safe and respectful sexual relationship. Women are isolated from supports and from family and friends, and emotional abuse often means that women are trapped in their own home by those closest to them.

Women’s Aid hope that by raising awareness of the One in Five Women who have been abused and by promoting the services which are available both nationally and locally, we can break the silence on domestic abuse across communities in Ireland, and reach out to the women affected.


The Safe World Summit….. took place in Dublin on October 23rd 2018 and was one of the biggest events 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.

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.”





Prevalence of domestic violence in Ireland httpss://

  • 1 in 5 women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner. (O’Connor, M, & Kelleher Associates, Making the Links, Women’s Aid, 1995).
  • In 2017, there were 15,833 disclosures of domestic violence against women noted during 21,451 contacts with Women’s Aid Direct Services. There were 10,281 incidents of emotional abuse, 3,502 incidents of physical abuse and 1,443 incidents of financial abuse disclosed. In the same year, 607 incidents of sexual abuse were disclosed to our services including 323 rapes. The Women’s Aid National Helpline responded to 15,952 calls in 2016. (Women’s Aid Impact Report 2017)
  • In 2017, the Women’s Aid One to One Support Service provided 728 one to one support visits, accommodated 255 court accompaniments and gave further telephone support to, and advocacy for, women on 1,743 occasions throughout the year. (Women’s Aid Impact Report 2017)
  • In a 2014 study entitled ‘Violence against women: An EU-wide survey’ by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), it was reported that 14% of women in Ireland have experienced physical violence by a partner since age 15. 6% of Irish women have experienced sexual violence by a current or former partner and 31% of women have experienced psychological violence by a partner. 12% of Irish respondents in the FRA study had experienced stalking (including cyber stalking).
  • The FRA survey revealed that Ireland has the second highest number of women avoiding places or situations for fear of being assaulted out of all EU countries. 33% of Irish respondents thought that violence against women was very common, and 50% thought it was fairly common. 41% of Irish women know someone in their circle of family or friends who have experienced intimate partner violence (FRA, 2014).
  • The FRA study demonstrated high levels of awareness of organisations providing assistance to victims of violence against women. 80% of interviewees were aware of Women’s Aid services (FRA, 2014).
  • National Research by the National Crime Council found that 1 in 7 women have experienced severe abusive behaviour of a physical, sexual or emotional nature from a partner at some times in their lives. The survey estimates that 213,000 women in Ireland have been severely abused by a partner. (Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland: Report on the National Study of Domestic Abuse, National Crime Council and ERSI, 2005).
  • In 2016, 10,101 women and 3,685 children were accommodated and/or received support from a domestic violence service. (Safe Ireland National Domestic Violence Statistics 2016)