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Domestic Violence

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Domestic Violence

We speak to Margaret Martin, Director of Women's Aid about the launch of Women's Aid 16 Days Campaign which calls for the elimination of all forms of domestic violence against women

On Nov 25th, the day after out item, Women's Aid will start a 16 day campaign on domestic violence. The 16 day campaign is an international campaign that started in 1991. Since then, over 2000 groups in 154 countries have taken part. The 16 day campaign is an opportunity of individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of domestic violence against women. Women's Aid will launch it's 16 Day Campaign with a public action outside Dail Eireann at 11am on Wednesday 25th Nov.

Margaret Martin, Director of women's Aid Ireland

General Statistics on the Prevalence of domestic violence in Ireland:
. One in Five women in Ireland experience domestic violence
. It is estimated that 213,000 Irish women suffer severe abuse
. 51% of women murdered in Ireland are murdered by their partner or ex-partner
. 1 in 8 pregnant women surveyed in a Dublin maternity hospital were experiencing domestic violence

The focus of the Women's Aid Campaign this year is domestic violence during pregnancy
The Rotunda Hospital conducted research which found that 1 in 8 women surveyed were being abused during their current pregnancy. If you look at the it's this way, there about 200 babies being born in Ireland every day - And that means that about 20 of these babies are being born in the cycle of abuse.

Are people shocked when they hear about domestic violence during pregnancy?
Well it is counter-intuitive really. We see a woman that is pregnant, we think that the are going to be protected and of course the majority of people would think this.
When we provide training and information (which we often do) to members guards and other people like social workers etc they are often shocked by the stories that they hear about women who are pregnant and are suffering from domestic violence. Women's Aid is deeply concerned about the abuse of women during pregnancy and the post natal period.

Pregnancy does not offer a protection from domestic violence?
No, pregnancy does not offer protection to domestic violence. In fact, international research has found that 25% of women who experience domestic violence are physically assaulted for the first time during pregnancy.

With the current recession, men who abuse often use financial situations over women as a way to control them. but you also felt that this was happening throughout Celtic Tiger Ireland and not just in the current recession?
I suppose with the recession we are getting more understanding of how money and finances are being used by some men to control their wives/partners, but this has been happening as a result during the good times and has been part of the stories that we were hearing.

What are you (women's Aid) seeing more of in the recession?
One of the things that is happening as a result of the recession is that abuse is happening more frequent and it becomes severe. With people being out of work, stress levels are higher and we are seeing more people abusing more. Stress, and people being out of work is no excuse for domestic violence and we must understand that, so too must the women who are being abused.

You say that modern technology has, in a way, facilitated some men who abuse?
Mobile phones and texting and e-mails make it easier for some men who abuse to keep in contact with their wives/partners and keep tabs on them if you like. If women are out shopping and their husbands and they might want to go and visit their mother, then their husband/partner might become aware of this and keeping contact with them as often as they can.

Itemised bills in shopping can be another way in which men exert control over women that they may be abusing?
Men who abuse will sometimes look at the itemised bills and again look at the amount of time that their partner has spent shopping - they might question this if they feel they were too long shopping. They often look through the details in the shopping bills and we have heard stories that even when women buy sanitary towels, they may be given a hard time about this and questioned about the expense for it. - It's another form of abuse where they are using financial control.

Why do you think that some women who are suffering from domestic violence do not leave?
Very often the women might say that the man is not being violent to the kids and that he is good to the kids, and they might also be afraid and I suppose there might be a fear or a threat from the abuser that they will come after them if the woman leaves.

Any additional information

According to research carried out in the UK, 70 of the 295 women who died during pregnancy or in the first 6 weeks after giving birth had a history of domestic violence.
19 of these women (27%) were murdered.
As well as the very serious consequences of abuse on women, there can also be serious consequences for the newborn infant too. These consequences can include:

. Pre-maturity
. Low Birth Weight

All of these complications bring with them additional challenges to the newborns including poor temperature regulation, poor feeding patterns, and susceptibility to infection

Any additional information

Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900