Women who experience domestic violence three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety

Women who experience domestic violence three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety

Women who experience domestic violence are three times more likely to be affected by depression, anxiety or other acute mental health conditions.

That is one of the issues to be discussed at a conference today focusing on the impact of gender-based violence on women's mental health, organised by St Patrick's Mental Health Services and National Women's Council of Ireland

26% of women in Ireland have experienced physical or sexual violence.

"Often we focus exclusively on physical forms of domestic violence and we know that it is much more than that," said Elaine Donnelly, a team lead social worker at St Patrisk's Mental Health Services.

"It is broader and much more nuanced and often the psychological impacts of domestic violence are much more impactful for victims and can have severe mental health consequences."

Elsewhere, a new Saoirse Women's Refuge is opening today.

The five-bedroom unit in Rathcoole, Dublin will help a larger number of women and children suffering domestic violence who are in crisis.

It will also be open 24/7 over Christmas and is providing a 24-hour helpline on 01 4630000.

Manager of the Saoirse Women's Refuge in Tallaght and Rathcoole, Trish Cole, says more women are in need of support.

"It's a crime and we need to recognise it as that," said Ms Cole.

"So many women have had to flee their homes because of domestic violence and the levels are increasing every year.

"Last year we had to refuse 287 families because we couldn't accommodate them."

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