One in five women suffer domestic violence as State response criticised
Ireland is failing the victims of domestic violence with a system that is under-resourced, reactive and totally ignores the potential of early intervention, a leading academic has warned.
A major conference will hear that the system is failing to adequately protect vulnerable women and children and that it has missed the opportunity to break the cycle of violence.
Irish agencies have been struggling to cope with an escalating spiral of domestic violence since 2008, which has resulted in multiple tragedies.
One in five Irish women are now believed to have suffered domestic abuse.
A study revealed that 50pc of men who are involved in domestic violence have never appeared before a court over their actions.
Safe Ireland revealed that a call about domestic violence is now received by helplines on average every 12 minutes.
In 2014, a total of 46,100 such calls were received.
The previous year, a total of 11,500 women and children received support from domestic-violence services, while emergency refuges had to cope with 1,769 women and 2,699 children.
A total of 6,187 women sought support involving non-accommodation resources, such as counselling, medical aid, advocacy and court accompaniment.
University College Cork's School of Law stages the international conference, which opens today, with Dr Louise Crowley warning that Ireland has to change a system which is buckling under the pressure.
Dr Crowley said existing State responses to domestic violence and abuse were "typically reactive and under-resourced."
She said: "Whilst priority is rightly given to protecting vulnerable women and children, we must now seek to break the cycle of gender-based violence and, where at all possible, tackle the root of the abuse."