Women's Aid says 33,800 domestic abuse reports are 'just the tip of the iceberg'
"It's really important to emphasise that this is not just adults who are being impacted by this scourge, but thousands of children across the country as well"
The more than 33,800 domestic abuse disclosures made to Women's Aid last year are "just the tip of the iceberg", the charity has warned.
According to its annual impact report for 2021 shows 26,906 contacts were made with the organisation.
During these contacts, 28,096 disclosures of domestic abuse against women were made.
Support workers also heard 5,735 disclosures of abuse against children.
Sarah Benson, chief executive of Women's Aid, told Newstalk there is a lot more behind these figures.
"While Covid-19 definitely exacerbated circumstances, for victims and survivors of abuse, unfortunately this is a pattern that keeps repeating itself.
"And we know our numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.
"During 2021, we heard 33,831 disclosures of abuse: that was 28,000 disclosures against women, but... 5,735 disclosures of child abuse in the context of domestic violence specifically.
"So I think it's really important to emphasise that this is not just adults who are being impacted by this scourge, but thousands of children across the country as well".
She says resources to help those at-risk are under strain.
"In the last year our frontline team were telling us that the calls to the helpline were longer, they were more complex.
"Our face-to-face support workers were supporting women through longer and lengthier systems.
"And that's because so many of the systems that women escaping domestic abuse need to navigate have been overwhelmed and under-resourced.
"That could be the courts system, we have a housing crisis - so all of these things exacerbate what is already a really acute situation"
And she says any abuse has to be called out.
"What we know is that initiatives, and interventions and collaboration for a more equal society help reduce male violence against women - also male violence against men
"So it's really important that we look at this at a systemic level - and work together as a community to call out misogyny and sexism, call out violence and achieve a more equal society for all."
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