Words: Ellen Kenny
A study by Red C for Women’s Aid found that many victims believe victim blaming is still prevalent, preventing them from seeking help.
Half of Irish people believe victim blaming has prevented victims of domestic abuse from speaking out, a survey by Red C for Women’s Aid has found.
According to the study, half of respondents said Ireland’s victim-blaming culture and the stigma attached to domestic abuse remain barriers to seeking help for victims while the same amount would not know who to reach out to in order to seek support for a case of domestic abuse.
The survey also found that one quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds incorrectly believe that coercive control is not a criminal offence in this country. Coercive control, a persistent pattern of controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour including all or some forms of domestic abuse, became a criminal offence on January 1 2019.
60 per cent of respondents knew someone suffering from domestic abuse, while on in five people have personal experience.
Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid said: “People across Ireland are finally and clearly saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to domestic abuse. While 70 per cent of people say they fear that their actions could make matters worse for the person being abused, they are also clearly saying that they do want to help. We just need to show them how.”
This survey comes as Women’s Aid launch their new initiative with Women’s Aid. They have declared February 6 a new national day of action on domestic abuse, coinciding with the new bank holiday.
“We’ll be asking the people to stop what they are doing, if only for a brief moment, and to publicly stand strong in support of those who are in situations of domestic abuse,” Benson explains, “In doing so we will lift the veil that is hiding domestic abuse and uplift and support those in situations of abuse.”
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