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Domestic abuse is more common than you think.

  • One in four women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner.

Violence against Women: An EU Wide Survey, European Union Fundamental Rights Agency 2014 

  • In 2022 there were 31,229 contacts with Women’s Aid
    • including 23,566 with the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline and 7,663 with our Face-to-Face Support Services
  • During these contacts, we heard 33,990 disclosures of abuse
    • including 28,578 disclosures of abuse against women and 5,412 disclosures of abuse against children.
  • There were 330,727 visits to and almost 30,000 visits to

(Women’s Aid Annual Impact Report 2022)

  • A 2014 EU-wide study by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) reported that:
    • 14% of women in Ireland have experienced physical violence by a partner (current or former) since age 15
    • 6% of Irish women have experienced sexual violence and 31% of women have experienced psychological violence by a current or former partner since age 15
    • 12% of Irish respondents in the study had experienced stalking (including cyber-stalking)
    • 41% of Irish women know someone in their circle of family or friends who have experienced intimate partner violence

  • 1 in 3 women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner (UN Women, 2021)
  • Fewer than 40% of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort (UN Women, 2015)
  • 42% of women who experience intimate partner violence report an injury as a consequence of this violence (WHO, 2013)

  • According to the Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence: A Report on Crime Levels and Garda Operational Responses, 2022:
    • Males and females experience violent and threatening crimes differently. For female victims, there is a close link between domestic abuse and sexual/other types of violence. A domestic abuse motive was recorded for 90% of all females who were victims of Murder/Manslaughter/Infanticide and 43% of all females who were victims of Attempts/Threats to Murder, Assaults, Harassments and Related Offences between 2019 and 2021. Male victims, whilst also experiencing domestic abuse, are more likely to be subject to violence by offenders unknown to them and/or in incidents not relating to domestic abuse
    • The offender is male in the majority of incidents with a female victim (74%). When the victim is male, the offender is also male for the majority (88%)
    • For the sub-set of incidents where the Victim Offender Relationship is available, female victims are more likely than males to know the offender (84% of female victims compared to 61% of male victims)
  • The 2005 National Crime Council and ESRI research into the domestic abuse of women and men in Ireland found that 1 in 7 women in Ireland compared to 1 in 17 men experience severe domestic violence. Women are over twice as likely as men to have experienced severe physical abuse, seven times more likely to have experienced sexual abuse, and are more likely to experience serious injuries than men. According to the research, women are twice as likely to be injured as a result of domestic abuse; more likely to experience serious injuries; more likely to require medical attention as a result of abuse; and the impact of the abuse in terms of fear, distress and health impacts is more significant for women than men. (NCC & ERSI, 2005)

  • Everyday 137 women are killed by a member of their family (UN Women, 2019)
  • Since 1996, 265 women have died violently in the Republic of Ireland. Of the women that were killed:
    • 63% were killed in their own homes.
    • 55% were killed by a partner or ex (of the resolved cases)
    • Almost 9 in 10 women knew their killer

(Women’s Aid Femicide Watch 2024)

The Irish Context

  • The One in Five Report by Women’s Aid (2020) on intimate relationship abuse against young women shows that:
    • 1 in 5 young women in Ireland have been subjected to intimate relationship abuse
    • 51% of young women affected experienced the abuse under the age of 18
    • 9 in 10 of the young women who were abused experienced emotional abuse

The International Context

  • In the EU:
  • In the USA:
    • 43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive behaviours including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse within an intimate relationship (Knowledge Networks, 2011)
    • 1 in 11 female high school students report having experienced physical dating violence (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, last updated 2020)
    • 1 in 9 female high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in one year (Centre for Disease Control and Presentation, last updated 2020)
  • According to UN Women, almost 1 in 4 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner or husband.

  • The Irish national estimated cost of domestic violence and abuse over a woman’s journey to safety (an average of 20.5 years) is €56 billion (Safe Ireland and NUIG, 2021)
  • EIGE has estimated that the cost of gender-based violence across the EU is €366 billion a year. Violence against women makes up 79 % of this cost, amounting to €289 billion. Intimate partner violence makes up almost half (48 %, €174 billion) of the cost of gender based violence. Intimate partner violence against women makes up 87 % of this sum (€151 billion) (EIGE, 2021)
  • In the USA, the lifetime economic cost associated with medical services for intimate partner violence-related injuries, lost productivity from paid work, criminal justice and other costs was $3.6 trillion. The cost of intimate partner violence over a victim’s lifetime is $103,767 for women (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, last reviewed 2020)

  • There were 928 disclosures of sexual abuse made to the Women’s Aid services in 2021, including 411 disclosures of rape (Women’s Aid, 2022)
  • 6% of Irish women have experienced sexual violence from a current or former partner (FRA Report, 2014)
  • The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s National Helpline received 13,438 contacts in 2020
    • They attended Sexual Assault Treatment Unit’s (SATU’s) with 85 victims/survivors
    • They accompanied 39 victims/survivors to appointments related to the criminal justice system
    • They supported 111 people remotely
    • They saw 570 clients for therapy and counselling

(DRCC, 2021)

  • 25% of victims of sexual violence in 2020 were female, with females under 18 years of age reporting the most sexual crime that year (CSO, 2021)
  • Since the age of 15, approximately 1 in 4 women in Australia have experienced violence by an intimate partner, including sexual violence.
    • Women were most likely to experience sexual violence from a previous cohabiting partner or a boyfriend/girlfriend or a date
    • Australian Domestic and Family Violence workers believe that 90 to 100% of their clients have been subjected to intimate partner sexual violence. (Anrows, 2019)

  • Women account for 41% of homeless adults in Ireland, which is significantly higher than the European average. There was a 158% increase in women’s homelessness from 2015 to 2019 (Focus Ireland, 2019)
  • In total, 92% of homeless women in a FEANTSA European study had experienced some form of violence or abuse throughout their lives (National Women Council of Ireland, 2018)
  • In 2018, there were 1,138 admissions of women and 1,667 admissions of children to refuge in Ireland (Safe Ireland, 2018)
  • On 3,256 occasions in 2018, services were unable to accommodate women and their children because the refuge was full or there was no refuge in their area. (Safe Ireland, 2018)
  • On average, 180 women and 275 children seek emergency accommodation every month and in 2021 more than 3,000 requests for refuge could not be met by services. (Safe Ireland, 2023)

  • In more than 40% of cases, children who live with domestic violence abuse are also frequently directly abused, physically or sexually (Tusla, 2015)
  • In 2022, there were 5,412 incidents of child abuse disclosed to Women’s Aid (Women’s Aid 2022)
  • In Europe, 73% of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or a previous partner indicate that their children have become aware of the violence (The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014)

  • 26% of women who contacted Women’s Aid in 2022 disclosed that they were abused by an ex-male partner
  • We heard 787 disclosures from mothers that their ex-partners were using access visits to abuse them, often in front of their children
  • It was disclosed on 239 occasions that children were being directly physically, emotionally and/or sexually abused during access visits with their fathers. (Women’s Aid Annual Impact Report 2022)

  •, launched its Intimate Image Abuse (IIA) service in 2021 and from September 2021-September 2022 it received 773 reports of image based abuse. ( 2021 Annual Report).
  • In 2020, it was estimated that 1 in 2 young women experienced gender-based cyber violence. 76% of women said they changed the way they use social media after experiencing cyber harassment, of which online hate speech is a form, and 32% said they ceased posting their opinions on certain issues (European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), 2022)
  • In the Women’s Aid (2020) One in Five Report we found that of the one in five young women who suffered abuse from a partner or ex, 49% suffered online abuse
  • It is estimated that globally, 1 in 10 women has experienced at least one form of cyber violence since the age of 15 (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2017)
  • Women (particularly young women aged 18 – 24) disproportionately experience severe types of cyber harassment, such as cyber stalking and online sexual harassment in many cases at the hands of partners and ex-partners (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2017)
  • The Women’s Aid Federation of England research (2019) on online domestic violence and abuse found that:
    • For 85% of respondents the abuse they received online from a partner or ex-partner was part of a pattern of abuse they also experienced offline
    • Nearly a third of respondents (29%) experienced the use of spyware or GPS locators on their phone or computers by a partner or ex-partner
    • For half (50%) of respondents the online abuse they experienced also involved direct threats to them or someone they knew
    • Nearly a third of those respondents who had received threats stated that where threats had been made online by a partner or ex-partner they were carried out
    • Conviction data for image-based sexual abuse show that out of the 464 prosecutions for this offence recorded in the year ending March 2018, 86% (400) were flagged as being domestic violence and abuse related.