Domestic Violence, Women’s Aid and the Economic Crisis
Women’s Aid today released their statistics for people accessing their services in 2008. The statistics make for depressing, although perhaps not altogether surprising, reading. The statistics show that the Women’s Aid helpline received more than 10,000 calls in 2008, carried out over 400 support visits, and accompanied people to court on over 160 occasions.
The statistics themselves and the analysis thereof contained in the report provide a catalogue of the immense cruelty that many women experience on a daily basis. The report also notes the impact of financial crisis on escalating domestic violence. The document as a whole is well worth reading, but the following excerpt from the Director’s introduction is an important reminder of the impact that financial difficulties can have on domestic violence as well as being a reminder of the need for the vital services provided by Women’s Aid to be funded to whatever degree is possible:
Without our direct services work with women we could not possess the knowledge and information to work to impact effectively on the greater societal response to domestic violence. We greatly admire all of those who have taken the brave step to contact us during 2008, and hope that our support will have had a positive impact on their lives, and that in turn we can ensure their experience will help us to make real change.
Perhaps one of the most notable things about 2008 was the sudden and dramatic shift in the global economic environment. This has had impacts on every facet of Irish society, but has also had a monumental impact on Women’s Aid and the women we work with everyday. Our organisation has found itself struggling even more to sustain itself with cutbacks from the majority of our funders and a drop in fundraising. However, it is in the lives of the women we support that the effect is most chilling.
Financial abuse, often a feature of abuse even in the boom time, now has an excuse, and is being used opportunistically by abusive men, as a way to enhance control over their partners. Financial abuse, although often overlooked, is a highly effective method of maintaining control: without money, options dwindle; no place to go, no means to get there; no way to provide for one’s own and one’s children’s basic needs. Women generally face impoverishment when they leave their partner due to violence, and this may become more likely now that there is less money around.
Women’s Aid free phone helpline: 1800 341 900
Women’s Aid website: www.womensaid.ie
The website includes advice on concealing the fact that you have accessed the website
How to donate to Women’s Aid: http://www.helplineappeal.org/
Update: Irish Times Report