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Tuesday 24 October 2017

'My kids face no Christmas if my abusive former husband gets his way'

Women's Aid says the festive season is often a time of 'sudden flashes of violence' for victims of domestic abuse

Women’s Aid run a 24-hour helpine for victims of domestic abuse
Women’s Aid run a 24-hour helpine for victims of domestic abuse

Gavin White

Christmas is a "time of hurt, fear, intimidation, intentional cruelty, and sudden flashes of violence" for some women and their children according to a new report from Women's Aid.

"For most of us, Christmas is a time for celebration and for making happy memories. But for many women contacting us recently the reality of Christmas is far from what it should be," Linda Smith, manager for Women's Aid helpline said.

One anonymous woman spoke of her desperation during Christmas.

“I never had access to money in my marriage and my husband always used to keep check on all the spending in the house when he was living here. He would even turn off the lights when he left the room - never mind that myself or one of the kids was still in there," she said.

The woman has separated from her spouse but says the problems have now escalated. 

"Now my husband has promised them the sun, moon and stars, and they are so excited but he has told me that there will be nothing for them if he can't come back and have Christmas 'as a family'.

"He will tell them that it is mammy's fault that Santa won't come. My stomach is in knots and I can't sleep; I feel so manipulated and now I have to face my children having no Christmas unless he gets his way.”

The Women's Aid report comes on foot of the Rape Crisis Network annual report for 2015 releasing some figures that show the level of trauma felt by women. 

The report said that there was "15,192 appointments in Rape Crisis Centres for counselling and support (1,384 people), 67pc  of survivors were subjected to other forms of violence (physical, emotional, psychological) in addition to sexual violence".

The report also notes that 17pc experienced multiple incidents of sexual violence and 24pc of survivors who became pregnant following rape accessed abortion".

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