'Normal mothers are losing their children over cocaine,' warns family law solicitor

Helping hand: Priscilla Grainger set up the organisation Stop Domestic Violence in Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Cate McCurry

"Rampant' cocaine use is fuelling domestic violence and dominating family court cases, it has been claimed.

Recreational use of cocaine has become so widespread it is affecting the lives of people from every economic background, and a rising number of addicts are choosing the drug over their children, according to a family law solicitor.

"Cocaine is rampant, it's either the cause or it's the financial burden because of people taking cocaine," said Sandra McAleer, who is based in Dublin.

"People taking cocaine get cocky, and when they get cocky they get paranoid and that's when the arguments start.

"People can't go out for a few drinks any more, they have to go to the toilet (to take cocaine). Domestic violence is being fuelled by cocaine. Everybody is going at it.

"Normal working mums are losing their kids over cocaine," she added.

She said that while cocaine was previously seen as a "rich man's drug", it was now being used by people on low incomes, parents with nine-to-five jobs, and wealthy businessmen and women.

Ms McAleer said it had become socially acceptable to openly do a line of cocaine during nights out.

"I can't comprehend how men and many women are choosing the white stuff over their children.

"There's a lot of money in it and the only people that are fuelling it are the Joe Soaps," she said.

"A dealer told me that he can get up to €1,000 for a good bag of cocaine."

Meanwhile, one victim of domestic violence wants abusers to sign a national register to help prevent other women from suffering.

Dublin mother Priscilla Grainger set up the organisation Stop Domestic Violence in Ireland.

She said the organisation experience a huge increase in calls for help over the Christmas period, with financial abuse and cocaine among the main factors.

"The financial abuse can be very daunting for the victims because they have nothing coming up to Christmas," Ms Grainger said.

"Bank accounts could be cleaned out if the victim has a joint account with their husband or partner or wife," she added.

"It was non-stop until Christmas Eve, it was horrific.

"You could see the fear in people's faces because they've obviously had a horrendous Christmas and it's all down to these narcissistic men and women.

"Abusers are not just men, there are women too.

"Victims suffer so much, they have no confidence, they have no self-esteem.

"They're on the floor flattened and the next thing they might try and get back up and find they have nothing," she said.

"There is no register for domestic violence as it is not a crime, so people can't check on new partners.

"If the relationship breaks up, he's gone and he moves on to the next person and he'll do the same thing.

"The next government needs to make domestic violence a crime and introduce a register which perpetrators have to sign.

"If they did that they might not be too quick to lift their hand or kick their feet," she added.