Women's Aid highlights red flags for domestic homicide after Cavan deaths

Clodagh Hawe with husband and killer Alan Hawe.

As Clodagh Hawe’s family prepare to bury her along with her children and her husband who killed them all earlier this week, Women’s Aid has revealed how common it is for men to threaten to kill their partners and their children during domestic violence incidents.

“In 2015, women disclosed to us on 970 occasions, that their abusive partners threatened to kill them, their children and their families,” Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin writes in today’s Irish Examiner.

“There were 579 additional disclosures of assaults with weapons, threats with weapons, and being strangled and smothered.”

Ms Martin says risk factors for intimate partner homicide include physical abuse, threats to kill, controlling behaviour, stalking, and harassment.

“Extreme jealousy, possessiveness, and patriarchal concepts and attitudes are also red flags for domestic homicide,” she said.

The Women’s Aid director also questioned the way such violent acts as the killings of the Hawe family lead people to look mental health issues “or speak about it being a crime of passion, despair, or even love”.

She said that minimises and miscategorises the horror of the crime perpetrated against women and children.

“It can blur or remove the victims from the picture and excuse the perpetrator,” said Ms Martin. “Most importantly, it also frightens and further isolates other women living in abusive situations around Ireland.

“We must focus on preventing future cases by encouraging women being abused by their partners to speak out.”

Ms Martin’s comments have come as the hashtag #hernamewasClodagh has taken off on social media. That is in response to media reports which have carried comments about Mr Hawe’s nature and possible motivation but little information about Clodagh or her three children Liam, 13, Niall, 11 and Ryan, 6, who were killed.

All five members of the Hawe family will repose at Finnegans Funeral Home in Cavan town from 3pm-8pm today, before funeral Mass at 4pm tomorrow in Saint Mary’s Church in Castlerahan and burial in the local cemetery beside the church.

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