Vigil at Dáil recalls 78 women and 10 kids killed by domestic abuse

Seventy-eight pairs of women’s shoes and 10 pairs of children’s shoes were placed outside the gates of Leinster House yesterday.

They were a stark reminder of the women murdered by their partners or ex-partners since 1996 and the children killed alongside their mothers.

Women’s Aid yesterday held a minute’s silence outside Dáil Éireann to remember the “stolen lives”.

Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said action was needed now. The domestic violence service believes greater awareness will lead to an improved response to domestic abuse by the State and its agencies.

“Risk factors for intimate partner homicide include physical abuse, threats to kill, controlling behaviour, stalking, and harassment,” said Ms Martin.

“Separation is also a risk factor for escalating violence and is often the most dangerous time for women in abusive relationships,” she said.

“These types of abuse are disclosed every day by women ringing our national freephone helpline.”

Last year, more than 17,000 calls were answered by Women’s Aid .

“We listened to women disclose shocking levels of abuse. Many women felt that their situation was not being treated as seriously as it should be,” said Ms Martin.

In particular, women spoke of inconsistent responses by State institutions and agencies such as the courts and gardaí.

Ms Martin said the experiences reported by the women were supported by the recent Garda Inspectorate Report into Crime Investigation.

The report, as well as highlighting cases of individual good practice revealed very serious gaps in the official response to domestic abuse cases.

Ms Martin said Women’s Aid could not leave the safety of women and children to chance. “It is a very serious crime with very serious and wide ranging outcomes for women and children, the bleakest of which we are highlighting today.”

A recently-published report by the Justice Committee recommended emergency barring orders, the creation of the criminal offence of stalking and the call to ratify the Istanbul Convention on Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

Ms Martin said they had been calling for the changes recommended by the committee over many years. She said the forthcoming National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence was a real opportunity to make significant advances in how Ireland responds to domestic abuse.

The minute’s silence took place ahead of the International Day Opposing Violence against Women, November 25, and the start of the Women’s Aid One in Five Women Awareness Campaign.

More on this topic

Women’s refuge for domestic violence victims to open in DublinWomen’s refuge for domestic violence victims to open in Dublin

Domestic support service Aoibhneas sees 57% rise in support givenDomestic support service Aoibhneas sees 57% rise in support given

Study puts cost per case of domestic abuse at €116,000Study puts cost per case of domestic abuse at €116,000

Review of bail rules for domestic violence suspects urgedReview of bail rules for domestic violence suspects urged


It’s the personal stories from Bruce Springsteen that turn his new ‘Western Stars’ documentary into something special, the director tells Esther McCarthy.Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars documentary more than just a music film

Apart from the several variations in its spelling in Irish and English, Inishtubbrid, Co Clare is also recognised by three other names: Wall’s Island; O’Grady’s Island and Inishtubber which surely puts it up there as the island with most names — not counting say Inisvickillane, Co Kerry which has about 33 variations to that spelling.The Islands of Ireland: In search of tranquility

More and more communities and volunteers are taking on environmental tasks around the country. In Clonmel, Co Tipperary, for example, people have united to get rid of Himalayan balsam, an invasive plant, from the banks of the River Suir.‘Bashing’ invasive plants

Halloween has become a consumer fest in recent years but there are a number of ways to reduce costs and waste — and make itHappy sustainable Halloween: Don’t be horrified with the waste at Halloween

More From The Irish Examiner