by Aoife McLoughlin
FORTY percent of Irish girls in the 14 to 17 year age group have reported knowing someone of their age who has been beaten or hit by a boyfriend.
And young women in the 16 – 24 year age group experience the highest amount of relationship violence.
Those were just some of the shocking statistics presented by Limerick Area Network during their launch of the ’16 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women’.
The ’16 days of Action’ campaign runs until December 10 (International Human Rights Day), and is an international campaign with over a thousand organisations from 139 countries participating.
The campaign aims to highlight the prevalence of violence against women and raise awareness of this as a human rights issue at local, national and international level.
Speaking at the local launch of the campaign in the Savoy Hotel, Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick Michael Sheahan said: “It is shocking really what’s out there. Domestic Violence is perpetuating generations of people who have been brought up in a situation where they have seen that might is right and, might is not right.”
The Mayor said violence against women is a much bigger issue than the current problems with Irish Water, as it affects women and “also the children who are witnessing these crimes at home”.
Mayor Sheahan did however compliment Limerick Gardaí on the work they have been doing in the area of domestic abuse saying: “Limerick Gardaí are forward in their thinking and they have exceptional plans by working very closely with Limerick Area Network and I commend them for that.”
Deirdre Barrett of ADAPT House told the Limerick Post that 113 women sought refuge from ADAPT Domestic Abuse services in Limerick during the first half of 2014. While, in 2013 there were a total of 188 admissions, averaging at 20 admissions to the refuge per month. Currently ADAPT’s 24 hour freephone helpline receives an average of 100 calls per month.
Marking the ‘16 Days of Action’ at a national level, Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has reaffirmed her commitment to comprehensively strengthening Ireland’s approach to preventing and responding to all forms of domestic and sexual violence.
The Minister said: “I intend to publish the draft heads of a consolidated and reformed Domestic Violence Bill in the New Year to address all aspects of domestic violence, threatened violence and intimidation.
“The ‘16 Days of Action’ campaign should also remind us of the need to put the victim at the heart of our policies on tackling violence as well as at the centre of our criminal justice system,” she added.
The Minister explained that the new Bill, coupled with the planned new National Strategy on domestic and sexual violence, will pave the way for Ireland to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, commonly called the Istanbul Convention.
ADAPT’s 24 hour Freephone Helpline is: 1800 200 504