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More women seeking help at city refuge

A WOMEN'S refuge was inundated with requests in the final days of 2011, it has been revealed.

Nearly twice as many women sought refuge on Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day than on any other day of the year.

Kathy Moore of the Rathmines Women's Refuge in Dublin, the only HSE-run refuge in the country, told the Herald that the festive season was their "busiest time of the year, when things turn nasty".

"A lot of the problems are linked to women being stretched to the limit.

"These men say they love their partners but only if she does exactly what they want and the minute she can't, it kicks off.

"This time of the year, a lot of men want to be socialising, and they may pick fights over money, and so on. We have space to host nine families here but earlier this month we had 17 families that showed up on one day -- and we were already full to capacity."

Ms Moore said violence against women had hugely increased in intensity over the 26 years of the centre's existence.


"It's getting worse and worse. When I started, if you heard of a woman with a black eye, you were horrified but attitudes are changing and not for the better," Ms Moore said.

"The other day, we had a woman who came in after she'd been stabbed a number of times and her teeth had been knocked back as well by the father of her children. It's pure violence, it's evil. We've reached an incredible level.

"We're lucky that we have the Rathmines Garda Station at the top of the road, they are absolutely fantastic, they check up on us all the time.

"We have a panic button which alerts them so they can come running to us if there is a problem -- we would use it at least every week and up to several times a day."

Ms Moore also noted that alcohol was not related to the offences perpetrated against women although this was a common misconception.

"We've looked into this at great depth and has nothing to do with alcohol or drugs or social circumstances, it's about respect towards women," she said.

The Rathmines Women's Refuge has a 24-hour helpline that is available every day of the year on 01 496 1002.