| 15.2°C Dublin

More women stalked online by jealous exes

YOUNG women deserve better legislation to tackle online harassment, Women's Aid has said.

A total of 12pc of Irish women have experienced stalking, with half of those being stalked online or off by an ex-partner.

The domestic violence charity is calling for a threefold improvement in legislation to protect women, particularly those under 25, from abuse.

Women's Aid director Margaret Martin said specific stalking legislation is needed, which would allow victims to apply for a safety order on grounds of stalking or harassment.

This would need to cover both physical and online stalking as online problems are increasing.

"What we would hear from women is 'I don't know how he knows this' and it can often be very difficult to know what's going on," said Ms Martin. "Sometimes it can start as just a vague sense of 'he knows too much'."

Younger women are at a high risk of domestic abuse, with 60pc of those who experience harassment or violence doing so before they are 25.

"Very often people think only of women who are married or have children," said Ms Martin.

"There are a lot of stereotypes about who victims are, and a lot of the time young women aren't seen as being in a situation where they are with a guy who is going to pose problems."


Under current law there is little protection for women who are in "dating relationships".

Women's Aid believes that the existing safety order legislation should be extended to women in these relationships.

The group has relaunched its 2in2u initiative to encourage young women to recognise the warning signs of violence.