Welcome to Irish Examiner liveblog for our two day Special Investigation on Domestic Violence,. Feel free to join in with questions, comments and contributions
Hi Conall, Margaret here from Women's Aid. Congratulations to Caroline O'Doherty & the Irish Examiner for such an in-depth investigation on domestic violence in Ireland. The articles in today's paper really highlight the difficulties faced by the 1 in 5 women affected. Kate's story was very moving & really brought home the reality of emotional, physical and financial abuse. A very brave women to share it with us.
Claire O'Sullivan's very powerful interview with abuse survivor will be live on Examiner website shortly - story of great courage and hope.
@WomensAid: Hi Margaret. Thank you. It's an important issue and I think Kate's story really brought it home. That 1 in 5 women are affected by this issue is a staggering statistic
The Irish Examiner has repeatedly highlighted the growing issue of domestic violence over the years - and the same issues always arise - the lack of political will to properly fund support agencies who do such great work against all the odds.
You are afraid of your partner.
You are constantly 'walking on eggshells' because of his mood swings.
You spend your time working out what kind of mood he is in and the focus is always on his needs.
He loses his temper easily and over minor things.
He has hit you or almost hit you and/or your children.
Your partner has been abusive in a previous relationship.
He criticises your family and friends and/or makes it difficult for you to see them or talk to them on your own.
He calls you names and threatens you and/or your children.
He is jealous and accuses you of flirting and having affairs.
He regularly criticises or undermines you in front of other people - including about the way you look, dress, and/or your abilities as a mother.
Your needs are not considered important or are ignored, and he makes the decisions in the relationship.
You find it hard to get time on your own. When you do spend time away from him, he demands to know where you were and who you were with.
He controls your access to basic essentials such as the car, the family finances, food, the telephone and internet.
He has forced you to do something that you really did not want to do.
He has forced you to have sex with him or with other people. He has made you participate in sexual activities that you were uncomfortable with.
He has threatened to have you deported because of your immigration status.
He tries to control aspects of your life such as whether you work, and where; who you see and when; what you can spend; what you can wear; what you watch or listen to on the radio or television.
He demands to know the passwords to you email account and social networking pages.
The one central message that has come from Caroline O'Doherty's excellent series is that help is out there - you are not alone. Just pick up the phone and talk to someone who wants to help
Hi Sroche - thanks for posting those warning signs Caroline. Women's Aid has also created a relationship health check quiz as part of our recent 2in2u dating abuse that might be useful www.2in2u.ie
The list of warning signs below are compiled by Women's Aid - they don't apply to every situation but they're a very useful check list. The Women's Aid website also has a specific section on behaviour that may signal abuse in dating relationships.
The issue of domestic violence came before the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality ehich plans to compile a report with recommendations on what measures can be put in place to reduce domestic violence. Anne Ferris, who is Vice Chair of the Committee, was appointed as Rapporteur on the issue.
Speaking at the Committee Sinn Féin's Martin Ferris said: Deputy Ferris said: "While crime figures are going down in almost all other areas, there is an increase in the number of domestic violence cases being reported. Our Committee agreed to examine this alarming trend in detail in the coming months. We intend to invite a wide range of informed opinion before us to discuss how domestic violence be reduced and eliminated, including those organisations who provide services to assist the victims of this particularly traumatic form of abuse. On foot of the hearings, our Committee hope to make genuine, practical and realistic recommendations to the Minister in a report on the subject
One of the things that struck me when researching these articles is how powerless friends and family of an abuse victim felt and that they didn't know how to intervene or even if they should get involved. Any advice out there from anyone who did try to help a loved one in this situation?
@caroline.odoherty: Is it an Irish feature of not poking your nose into another families household? Is it a feature that's replicated in other countries?
Conall, that advertisement had a huge impact on our National Helpline when it ran on Irish media a few years ago. Since then there is a growing recognition and understanding of the links between domestic violence and child abuse. This year we are particularly concerned about the increasing number of disclosures to Women's Aid of children being directly abused or exposed to domestic violence. Domestic violence is the most common context in which children experience abuse. In 2011, 44% of all callers to the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline disclosed that children were being directly abused or were present in the home where domestic violence was happening. Women have told us that their children were being hit, smacked, constantly shouted at, and in some cases, sexually abused.
I'm just watching the video of Linda talking about the horrific abuse she suffered throughout her marriage and specifically during her pregnancies. No-one deserves to be beaten, threatened, raped and insulted. However, nowhere is domestic violence more stark or disturbing than during pregnancy. We know that 1 in 8 Irish women suffer abuse during pregnancy and we regularly hear from women who were beaten and raped while pregnant, which often resulted in miscarriage. We also hear from pregnant women whose abuser deliberately pushed them against their stomach, women who were raped following child birth and women who were beaten while holding their baby.
@WomensAid: Again another shocking statistic that you've pointed out - that 1 in 8 Irish women suffer abuse while pregnant. A statistic that is perhaps not that well known but should be
Another stark statistic is that of women who experience domestic violence, 25% are assaulted for the first time during pregnancy. It is very distressing to hear Linda talk about how her attempts to get help weren't responded to. We urge any woman who is in a similar situation to talk to someone she trusts like a family member or friend or her GP and her midwife. And remember, the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 is open from 10am to 10pm 7 days a week.
Thanks to everyone who contributed or just dropped in to watch the videos or read the comments. We know for some of you it may be a difficult issue to comment on. Caroline O'Doherty will have more in tomorrow's newspaper