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Women’s Aid warns against a surge in domestic violence

Women’s Aid has reported about a surge in domestic violence during Level 5. There is a 43% increase in calls to their 24-hour helpline in the past few months from March to June which is comparatively higher than in 2019. 

Victims even had to call from places like their garden, car and bathroom, afraid of being found out by their partner.

Women’s Aid have warned the public to remain vigilant and also encouraged women to reach out to them in case of emergency.

In Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, addressing the nation on Monday, pointed out the possibility of a rise in domestic violence.

He warned that the restrictions can impacts the mental well being of the people and also the treatment of non-COVID illnesses. He also added that it can cause unemployment and loss of income for families and could also result in increased domestic violence and fewer child welfare referrals.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid, has voiced Taoiseach’s concern and said that due to the Covid-19 restrictions many women and children will have to remain in suffocating situations with their abusers over the next few weeks.

She said the job losses, remote working and self-isolation are already taking a toll on the victims and the long-time presence of their abusers at home along with this makes the situation all the more frightening.

She said that women have reported that their partners are using the lockdown restrictions as an excuse to remain inside even after they had been violent.

Ms Benson said that women with underlying health issues have reported that their partners would deliberately not follow public health guidelines and would cough and spit on them.

Women living away from their partners had been getting abusive messages, phone calls and video calls. The restrictions are bringing out the traumatic memories of women who were abused and controlled in the past.

‘We have also been in touch with An Garda Siochana in the last number of days and are reassured that domestic violence remains a high priority, that Operation Faoiseamh is ongoing and that the 5k limit for travel does not apply if someone is fleeing abuse to a safe location,’ Ms. Benson said.

She also added that the whole community must be vigilant and responsive to anyone who are in an abusive situation and the people can always seek their support through their website or Helpline to help others.

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