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One in four women have been abused

IRISH women are less likely than their European counterparts to report physical or sexual abuse even though 25pc have experienced it, research has claimed.

The survey carried out by the European Union's Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found that at least one in four Irish women had endured physical and/or sexual abuse since the age of 15.

They also felt badly let down after reporting it, with one in four who sought practical help revealing that they had not been satisfied with it.

And more than 60pc of those who looked for moral support felt their needs were not met.

The report said that Irish women were far less likely than the European average of 53pc to contact gardai or any other organisation after being on the receiving end of abuse.

In many cases they dealt with the issue themselves, involved a friend, or decided that it was a "family matter".

The study also found that 52pc of Irish women would avoid certain areas or streets for fear of being assaulted.

STALKED

The survey of 42,000 women aged between 18 and 74, discovered that 62 million women across the EU have experienced either physical or sexual abuse, with almost 400,000 of them living here.

It revealed that 31pc or 470,000 Irish women have endured psychological abuse at the hands of a partner while 12pc have been stalked.

Sharon O'Halloran, director of SAFE Ireland, the national organisation of domestic violence services, said the survey "confirms that we are dealing with the tip of the iceberg".

Ms O'Halloran added: "We're still dealing with cultural issues in Ireland around stigma and shame, and women are bearing the brunt of that."

She claimed a number of things needed to be changed, "from the response of the police, to the courts system".

And Patricia Prendiville, the Irish board member of FRA, said: "The enormity of the statistics is proof that violence does not impact on a few women only – it impacts on society every day.

"Policy-makers must recognise the extent and enormity of the issue."

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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