Thousands contacted domestic violence service for first time during first months of Covid crisis 

Thousands contacted domestic violence service for first time during first months of Covid crisis 

Around 3,450 women and 589 children contacted a domestic violence service for the first time seeking support and safety from abuse and coercive control during the first six months of Covid-19, research shows.

Around 3,450 women and 589 children contacted a domestic violence service for the first time seeking support and safety from abuse and coercive control during the first six months of Covid-19, research shows.

This equates to 575 "new" women and 98 "new" children every month, or 19 new women and three children every day.

A new report from Safe Ireland, called Tracking the Shadow Pandemic, shows these women and children accounted for 29% and 24% respectively, of all those who looked for support from a domestic violence service during the first wave of the Covid-19 crisis.

In total, at least 1,970 women and 411 children received support from a domestic violence service every month over the period.

The tracking study is based on data collected monthly by Safe Ireland from its frontline member services, which is continuing through Ireland's second lockdown.

Mary McDermott, co-CEO of Safe Ireland, the national hub for 39 frontline domestic violence services, said: "The study exposes, yet again, patterns of domestic violence heightened by this pandemic.

"It also underscores the enormous strains that services throughout the country were under, and continue to endure, as they deal with the impact of lockdown two."

While the Government said it will prioritise domestic violence, Ms McDermott said this has not been backed up by the resources and infrastructural modernisation that is needed.

The six-month report also shows that 33,941 helpline calls were answered across the country over the period, amounting to an average of 184 calls every day.

Compared to 2018, domestic violence services responded to an average of 147 calls a day.

On average, there were 191 women and 288 children staying in domestic violence accommodation, including refuge, safe homes and supported housing, each month.

At the same time, 1,351 requests for refuge - or seven requests per day - could not be met as there was no space, the report found.

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