Media Release: Family Killings Research Announced by Minister of Justice Welcomed by Women's Aid.

28 Feb 2019

Thursday 28th February 2019: Women's Aid, the national organisation providing support and information to women experiencing domestic violence and dating abuse, this evening welcomed the Minister of Justice’s commitment to establish independent research into family homicides

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid said:

“Women’s Aid welcomes the latest development announced by the Minister of Justice Charlie Flanagan, T.D., to establish independent research into family homicides.  We hope that this process brings answers and a sense of justice to those affected including the family of Clodagh Hawe and her three boys Liam, Niall and Ryan. The country owes Jacqueline Connolly and Mary Coll a debt for bringing the issue of domestic violence and homicide to the forefront our minds with their courageous interview on RTE on Monday night.  We understand that it wasn’t an easy step for Jacqueline and Mary to take but one driven by their determination and resolve to see justice done for Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan.  A purpose which we fully support.  The Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline has seen an upsurge in calls since then from women fearful of the same thing happening to them and reliving past trauma.”

Calling for further information, Ms Martin said:

“We look forward to getting more detail on the terms of reference of the research but would urge the Minister to include consultation with specialist domestic violence services and experts on Femicide and domestic violence and the wider communities affected by domestic homicides" 

For over 20 years, Women’s Aid has been raising this issue through our Femicide Watch work and in particular highlighting the need for legislation for the establishment of Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs).  Ms Martin concluded:

"In our latest report launched in November 2018 we outlined the best practice around independent and multi-agency DHRs and what we would like to see in Ireland.  The inclusion of specialist domestic violence services, family, and informal community networks along with health services, schools, Gardai etc. in the reviews is essential to ensure the fullest picture of what led to the killings and how we can best prevent killings of women and children in their own homes in the future.”

Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900


For further information please contact Christina Sherlock, Head of Communications on 0879192457 or email

Further information:

Key statistics from the Women’s Aid Femicide Report 2018:

      • Since 1996, 225 women have died violently in the Republic of Ireland.  16 children were killed alongside their mothers.
      • 137 women were killed in their own homes (61%).
      • In the resolved cases, 98 women were murdered by a partner or ex-partner (56%).
      • Another 20 women (11%) were killed by a male relative and in 35 cases (20%) women were killed by a man who was known to them.  23 women (13%) were murdered by a stranger.
      • In the 20 cases where a woman has been killed by a male relative, 16 were killed by their sons (80%).
      • In total, 87% of women were killed by a man they knew.
      • Women of any age can be victims of homicide with women under the age of 35 making up 52% of cases in Ireland.
      • There have been 22 cases of murder suicide in this time, where the killer has killed a woman and then himself during the incident or shortly afterwards.  In 21 of these cases the killer was a partner or ex of the victim.
  • Women's Aid is the national organisation providing support and information to women experiencing domestic violence through its Direct Services. It runs the only free, national, domestic violence 24hr helpline (1800 341 900, 24 hours, 7 days) with specialised trained staff & volunteers, accredited by the Helplines Partnership and with a Telephone Interpretation Service covering 170 languages for callers needing interpreting services as well as a Text Service for Deaf and Hard of Hearing women. Women's Aid also offers a Dublin-based One to One Support Service and Court Accompaniment Service and runs the Dolphin House Support and Referral Service in the Dublin District Family Law Court (in partnership with Inchicore Outreach Centre.)
  • Our 24hr National Freephone Helpline provides a listening ear, emotional support and practical information to women experiencing abuse from their current or former male partners. It responds to 50 calls per day.
  • The Helpline is also a gateway into our Dublin based face to face and court support services and to other local independent support and refuges around the country.
  • One in five women over the age of 18 in Ireland has experienced some form of physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse from a male intimate partner.