Women’s Aid welcomes landmark report on domestic violence deaths and familicide in Ireland

Wednesday 31st May 2023: Women’s Aid, a leading frontline organisation today welcomes the release of the landmark ‘Study on Familicide and Domestic and Family Violence Death Reviews’. The independent study, commissioned by the Department of Justice, consulted with a wide range of stakeholders including bereaved families, civil society organisations including Women’s Aid, and various State agencies.

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

“Women’s Aid welcomes the release of this landmark and long awaited report. It contains wide ranging recommendations which, if effectively implemented can help Irelandprevent future cases of familicide and domestic violence death. The report includes details of the review of domestic violence deaths and familicide (2000-2019). It concludes that women are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence death and that the perpetrators are most often male current or former partners. The study also shows that the most common risk factor for domestic violence death and familicide is a previous history of domestic abuse followed by actual or pending separation.”

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

“This report importantly gives clear guidance on key steps that need to be taken to improve the supports for families and communities bereaved in such circumstances and to increase the public’s understanding of domestic abuse including coercive control and the links with homicide.”

Women’s Aid particularly welcomes the recommendation a national database for reporting on violent family deaths, enhanced risk assessment and management to prevent harm and deaths and the proposed establishment of a multi-agency process of Domestic and Family Violence Death Reviews on a legal footing.

Ms Benson says:

“Domestic and Family Violence Death Reviews are a coming together and a sharing of information – not to find blame but to help us see warning signs and opportunities for intervention were missed. It is crucial that families, friends and close contacts of the perpetrators and victims are involved. This could include information on whether there had been contact with law enforcement, health facilities or specialist agencies, such as a domestic violence agency, prior to a violent incident occurring.”

Ms Benson adds:

“The recommendation for standardised risk assessment tool used across services and agencies is really important to help create a social safety net for those at risk of serious harm.

Ms Benson concludes:

“Rapid implementation of legislative change is needed to facilitate real and meaningful structures to help families who suffer from violent incidents. These changes require a whole of Government approach and should not be dispersed across different departments. The vehicle and mechanisms for co-ordination and monitoring that Government chooses, for all the recommendations in this foundational document including required legislation, will now be the critical factor to assure we are successful in Ireland. We must get this right to honour the loss of those many whose lives have been lost in such circumstances. We must give ourselves the tools to learn from the past so we can do better in the future to prevent such deaths.”


 For more information contact Christina Sherlock on 087-9192457 or by email christina.sherlock@womensaid.ie