The National Crime Council in association with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
Embargo: Tuesday 5 July 2005 at 3 p.m.
Today, the National Crime Council, in association with the Economic and Social Research Institute, published the first ever large scale study undertaken to give an overview of the nature, extent and impact of domestic abuse against women and men in intimate partner relationships in Ireland. The study was commissioned by the National Crime Council and based on a survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute of a nationally representative statistical sample of over 3,000 adult women and men, as well as focus group interviews with Traveller and immigrant women. The report is written by Dr. Dorothy Watson, Senior Researcher with the ESRI, Principal Investigator and Senior Author and Miss. Sara Parsons, Research Officer with the National Crime Council.
The study draws a distinction between severe abuse, defined as a pattern of physical, emotional or sexual behaviour between partners in an intimate relationship that causes, or risks causing, significant negative consequences for the person affected and isolated minor incidents that do not form a pattern of behaviour and do not have a severe impact. The two types of behaviour differ in their impact and in the profiles of those affected. The study focuses on severe abuse which is likely to call for an intervention from the Criminal Justice System and/or place demands on support services for victims.
The key findings were outlined by Dr. Watson:
Speaking at the publication of the report the Chairman of the National Crime Council, Padraic White said that “the National Study of Domestic Abuse was a pioneering one for Ireland in many ways – it covered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; it included both women’s and men’s experiences of domestic abuse and it used the most modern techniques to analyse the data. The National Crime Council embarked on this momentous study to get the most accurate possible measure of the hidden crimes that occur behind closed doors and which have a traumatic impact on the victims”. He added “society must do all in its power to lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds domestic abuse. Collectively we must ensure that when a person discloses abusive behaviour – to a family member, a friend, the Gardaí, health professionals or others – that that call for help and assistance is met.”
He went on to outline the main recommendations put forward by the Council:
Concluding Padraic White called on “the Government, the National Steering Committee on Violence Against Women, and all other organisations dealing with women and men experiencing domestic abuse and perpetrating such abuse to give careful and urgent consideration to the findings.”
The ESRI works towards a national vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’. This means producing high-quality analysis to provide robust evidence for policymaking, with the goals of research excellence and policy impact.
The ESRI produces research that contributes to understanding economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland.