Sunday 11 December 2016

Mother of murdered woman calls for homicide to be registered on death certs for women who die as result of abuse

Jane O'Faherty

Published 14/11/2016 | 16:38

Picture posed by model
Picture posed by model

The mother of a young woman murdered by her best friend's ex-partner has called for domestic homicide to be registered on death certificates of women killed as a result of abuse.

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Maria Dempsey, whose daughter Alicia was killed in Limerick six years ago, said including domestic violence as the cause of death in such cases could reveal the root causes of violence against women.

“We might still be decades away from a perfect world of communication skills, but the start could be that domestic homicide is registered as such on a death certificate,” she said.

“That way, the Central Statistics Office perceives these deaths as meaningful,” she added. 

“It would let our children’s deaths count. We would know then what we’re facing.”

“We would know then the extent of the task we are facing as a country, and the root causes of why domestic homicide is highly represented in homicide statistics,” she continued.

Maria’s daughter Alicia Brough was killed on November 15 2010, when she returned to the house of her friend Sarah Hines.

Alicia was staying with Sarah and her children because Sarah was afraid her abusive ex-partner would return.

John Geary, the ex-partner, was later found guilty of killing Sarah, his baby daughter, his stepson and Alicia.

Speaking at the Safe Ireland Summit in Dublin, Maria said : “Alicia was killed, but all of us are victims of domestic violence and domestic homicide.”

“It will take all of us to change our culture and save ourselves,” she added.

Maria also pointed to “things we still can’t talk about, the things we need to talk about like anger.”

“We have to create an Ireland where all voices are heard, even those saying things that are difficult to hear,” she said.

“When someone can say: no I’m not fine.’ Where without judgment, someone can say: ‘I feel so angry, I feel murderous.’ That we listen to and know what to do with murderous and suicidal words.”

The Safe Ireland summit continues until tomorrow evening, and has attracted 40 global leaders on domestic violence.

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland, said: “We need a social revolution to bring this issue into the open, to address it seriously, to see it and treat it and name it as the barbaric crime it is.”

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