Media Release: Only 7% of victims of domestic abuse ring a Helpline and Women’s Aid wants to know why.

10 Sep 2019

  • Women’s Aid is carrying out an online survey for survivors of domestic abuse to help improve the responses to women and to break down barriers to seeking help.
  • The national frontline organisation is asking the public’s help in improving its services and to understand why most women never seek support from a specialist organisation.
  • It is estimated that 213,000 women in Ireland experience severe domestic violence.
  • Women’s Aid services received just over 19,000 contacts last year.

Tuesday 10th September 2019: Women’s Aid, the national the national domestic violence frontline support organisation, has released details of a survey for survivors of domestic violence.  The organisation is carrying out independent research to help it better understand the support needs of women experiencing abuse from current or ex intimate partners and identify the gaps that currently exist.  In 2018, Women’s Aid was contacted over 19,000 times for support but the organisation says that this is just a fraction of the people who are experiencing physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse in their own homes and in their relationships. According to the National Crime Council Research (2005) only 7% of victims ever reach out to a Helpline like Women’s Aid for support while the same survey estimated that over 213,000 women in Ireland were experiencing severe domestic violence.  Women’s Aid has called on survivors to help them improve the response for those experiencing abuse by completing a confidential survey whether they have used the organisation’s support services or not.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid, says:

“We want to understand better the difficulties for women experiencing domestic abuse to talk about what is happening. We know that many women are afraid that they will not be believed or that they will blamed for the abuse. Others struggle to find the words to describe their situation. All too often, women feel alone and isolated, unaware that help is available or unable to make sense of what is being done to them. Others may confide in family, friends or someone they trust.”

Ms Benson, concludes:

“This survey is an important opportunity  to gain a snapshot view into the services women in Ireland do – and do not - access when experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Women’s Aid support thousands of women every year, but research tells us that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that many women may never reach out to our own, or to other support services. We want to learn what is most helpful to women and what barriers there may be for them seeking help. This survey is will help us gain feedback into our own services so that Women’s Aid can continue to grow, develop and provide an excellent response to those in need.”

The survey does not require you to provide any identifying information and is completely anonymous.  Women’s Aid is calling on survivors of domestic violence aged over 18+ to carry out the survey in complete confidence at


Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800341900

For more information contact Christina Sherlock, Head of Communications on 0879192457/ 016788858 or by email

Notes for Editors

  • 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.)
  • The Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline answered 15,835 calls in 2018. There were 721 one to one support visits and 257 court accompaniments carried out by its One to One Support Services.  An additional 591 drop-in sessions took place at the Dolphin House Support and Referral Service.  There were also 1,685 additional support calls by our One to One Services, including at Dolphin House.
  • There were 16,994 disclosures of domestic abuse to Women’s Aid Direct Services in 2018 including 11,112 disclosures of emotional abuse, 3,816 disclosures of physical abuse, 526 disclosures of sexual abuse (Including 226 disclosures of rape) and 1,540 disclosures of financial abuse. 
  • Women contacting Women’s Aid disclosed that 84% of abusers were male intimate partners. (This breaks down as: 42% husband, 8% ex-husband, 15% partner, 19% ex-partner). 
  • The Women’s Aid website was visited 183,209 times in 2018.