Choking concern in domestic violence

Women’s Aid has expressed concern about the number of contacts made to it by people suffering domestic violence in which they are choked by their partner.

Choking concern in domestic violence

The support organisation also expressed concern over the the number of marital rape allegations it has received yet just one conviction for marital rape has been handed down since laws were changed in 1990.

Women’s Aid launched its Impact Report 2014 yesterday, which showed that it received 13,655 contacts to its national freephone helpline and Dublin-based One to One Services, incorporating 16,464 disclosures of domestic violence against women and 5,786 disclosures of child abuse.

The figures revealed there were 10,653 disclosures of emotional abuse, 3,470 disclosures of physical abuse, 595 disclosures of sexual abuse — including 176 disclosures of rape — and 1,746 disclosures of financial abuse.

The organisation also called for an end to what it called “victim blaming” and also warned that a 20% reduction in its state funding could impact on its ability to deal with calls from women in need of support.

Director Margaret Martin also said that some women were effectively “prisoners in their own homes” and made specific mention of situations in which women were choked by their husband or partner.

“I am really worried regarding the issue of choking.

“It is seen like a punch or a kick, but while they are dangerous, they are not life-threatening.”

Ms Martin said numerous reports from women outlined how they were pinned against a wall and choked by their partner, sometimes resulting in the women passing out.

“That could be fatal.”

She said there was international research to indicate that women who suffer consistent choking can experience health difficulties as well as psychological trauma.

She said there needed to be a serious and widespread discussion about pornography and its impact on young men and their behaviour, as well as a need to dispense with ideas of “victim blaming”.

“Very often the men who abuse women are absent or excused when we talk about addressing domestic violence.”

She said women in some relationships were expected to watch pornography with their partner and act out certain scenarios with which they are uncomfortable.

Women’s Aid also said that it wanted upcoming legislation on domestic violence to have passed through the Oireachtas before the next general election and also issued a warning over funding.

It said it was now coping with “an unexpected and significant 20% cut to its statutory funding by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency”.

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