Double nightmare of domestic violence and drug abuse affecting 11,000 women in Ireland

More than 11,000 women in Ireland experienced domestic violence while battling drug addiction in Ireland in 2020, according to new research published today.

he findings of the DAVINA project, run by Trinity College, are the first estimate of the hidden prevalence of female victims of both domestic violence and substance abuse in Ireland.

The research was carried out by Professor Catherine Comiskey and her team at Trinity’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.

She said: “Women experiencing violence at home and using substances are invisible and their needs unknown.

“They are forced to live a duality of secrecy for their protection and that of their children.

“This study provides the first minimum estimate of national prevalence and presents evidence on the need for accessible, targeted and specific interventions.”

DAVINA is the only such project in Ireland and was set up as part of the SAOL project in response to an increased need among women accessing their domestic violence support service.

Other findings showed:

• At least 48,000 women who used substances in 2020 experienced some form of physical, sexual or emotional violence in their lifetime.

• They were more likely to experience homelessness, poverty and to have had traumatic life experiences, which can lead to mental health issues, shame and stigma, making it more difficult to access to supports.

Meanwhile GPs have received new guidance on how to identify patients who may be victims of domestic violence.

The guidelines were written by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP).

ICGP’s Director of Women’s Health, Dr Nóirín O’Herlihy, said: “For GPs, it is not always easy to identify if a patient is experiencing domestic violence and abuse. For patients, it can be difficult to disclose.

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Justice Minister Helen McEntee

“It is important that GPs are confident in asking patients about the possibility of domestic violence and abuse when it is safe. GPs are more likely to ask in high risk situations, for example during pregnancy.

“People who experience domestic violence often have regular contact with their GP and identify doctors and nurses as professionals from whom they would like help.

“It is essential that healthcare professionals such as GPs and their practice teams are aware of and ask questions about domestic violence.”

Praising the new guide for GPs, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: ‘I know that every day Irish doctors take great care to help women, men and families who have experienced violence. servants.

“Ensuring that the best possible supports are available to victims is an area of ​​work that I and my government colleagues have identified as a priority.

“I very much welcome that this guide enhances the support already provided by GPs to victims and ensures that appropriate referrals, ongoing support and follow-up are routinely provided, which will give patients/victims the information and correct resources.

“The government has prioritized tackling domestic violence in all its forms and ensuring that people, especially women and vulnerable people, feel safe and are safe in our communities.

“I am currently leading work on a new whole-of-government domestic, sexual and gender-based violence strategy, which will set an overarching goal of zero tolerance in our society for domestic violence.

“This new plan will place a strong emphasis on prevention and on ensuring better support for victims, and initiatives like this guide help in both cases.”

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