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Violence Against Women
Violence Against Women
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Domestic violence explained | Sexual violence explained | The overlap between domestic & sexual Violence | Prevalence of Violence Against Women in Ireland
Domestic violence explained
The Report of the Task Force on Violence Against Women (Ireland, 1997) defines Domestic Violence as follows:
‘Domestic Violence refers to the use of physical or emotional force or threat of physical force, including sexual violence in close adult relationships’. This includes violence perpetrated by a spouse, partner, son or daughter or any other person who has a close or blood relationship with the victim. The term ‘domestic violence’ goes beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve emotional abuse; the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone’
‘Domestic Violence occurs in all social classes and is equally prevalent in both rural and urban Ireland. In the vast majority of cases where violence occurs among persons who are known to one another, research has shown that women are injured and men perpetrate the assault’.
The report also states that:
‘In the majority of incidences of violence against women, including that of sexual assault, the attacker is not a stranger but is known to the victim and is likely to have, or have had, an intimate relationship with the woman. Whether it be sexual assault, rape, physical assault or emotional abuse, women are at greater risk from husbands, boyfriends, male relatives and acquaintances than from strangers. Violent attacks of this nature are rarely once-off occurrences, but are likely to be persistent and frequent with the objective of instilling fear in victims’.
Sexual violence explained
The COSC Strategy (The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2010) explains:
Sexual violence refers to assaults that have an explicit sexual content and includes a variety of forms including rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. These forms of sexual violence can be perpetrated by family members, current and former sexual partners, other relatives and friends, acquaintances (including colleagues and clients), or those in a variety of authority positions, as well as strangers. The many possible combinations of location and relationships mean that sexual violence can be in private or public locations, and in terms of rape, for example, can include many forms – marital rape, familial/incestuous rape, acquaintance/date rape, stranger rape, gang rape, custodial rape, and rape as a war crime.
The overlap between domestic and sexual violence
Domestic violence may include physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Sexual violence often occurs in the domestic context but may also be committed against a stranger. However, the similarities invite parallel, and often identical, preventative and responsive action. They share the sinister element of being hidden crimes, frequently perpetrated by persons in a position of supposed trust or complicated by close relationships. (Ref: Cosc Strategy 2010)
Prevalence of Violence Against Women in Ireland
In Ireland nearly one in five women report that they have experienced violence at some point in their lives. It is an enormous problem that affects every community. Women experience rape, physical assaults, emotional and financial abuse and many other forms of exploitation every day.
Statistics from 2009 tell us that:
In Domestic violence services in 2009:
- More than 7,500 individual women accessed their services,
- On just one day in November a snap shot census found that 368 women and 291 children were accommodated or received support from a domestic violence service and
- Between 2007 and 2009 services saw a 43% increase in the number of women accessing domestic violence services.
The Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) study (McGee et al, 2002) finds that 42 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men experienced some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime. Furthermore, 20 per cent of girls and 16 per cent of boys in Ireland reported contact sexual abuse in childhood. The report finds that in the case of both women and men who experienced sexual violence, the abuser was most often a person known to the abused person rather than a stranger.
In Rape Crisis Centres in 2009:
- 1,319 individual women received counselling and / support across 13 RCNI member RCCs.
- 9 out of every 10 of the women knew the perpetrator of the sexual violence,
- 1 in 3 had been assaulted by a partner or ex partner (28.4%).
- There was 23,307 helpline calls to 14 rape crisis centres.