Tragic mother calls for open dialogue on domestic violence

Half of the women who were murdered in Ireland over the last ten years were victims of domestic homicide

Tragic mother calls for open dialogue on domestic violence

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A mother whose daughter was murdered six years ago has called for domestic homicides to be officially registered on death certificates.

More than half of the women who were murdered in Ireland over the last ten years were killed by their husbands according to SAFE Ireland - a national organisation dedicated to eradicating domestic violence.

The SAFE Ireland Summit, gathering over 35 global leaders on domestic violence, has opened in Dublin today with an opening address from Maria Dempsey - whose daughter was among four people murdered by John Geary in Limerick six years ago. 

Ms Dempsey said officially recording domestic murders on state documents could provide lawmakers with the hard statistics needed to drive and influence policy:

Ms Dempsey's daughter, Alicia Brough was murdered when she returned to the house of her friend Sarah Hines, who was living in fear of her abusive ex-partner, John Geary in 2010.

Geary was later found guilty of murdering both women, as well as his daughter Amy and his stepson Reece.

Ms Dempsey said she is trying to give voice to Alicia and “so many other women who are not here with us because they were taken, viciously, unjustly, violently.”

“We have to create an Ireland where all voices are heard, even those saying things that are difficult to hear,” she said.

“Where someone can say, ‘no, I’m not fine.’ Where, without judgment, someone can say ‘I feel so angry, I feel murderous,’” she said.

“That we listen to and know what to do with murderous and suicidal words.”

The summit will hear from international speakers including former White House advisor on violence against women, Lynn Rosenthal and Irish voices including the Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald, broadcaster, Claire Byrne and musician, Hozier.

The Tánaiste said she is horrified at the misogyny she has seen surfacing in coverage of US Elections over recent weeks:

Simone George, the director of the summit, said one in three women in Ireland have experienced domestic violence.

Ms George called for a more open discussion on the problem adding that, “the home is the last Irish institution to be opened up.”

SAFE Ireland CEO, Sharon O’Halloran said Ireland can lead the “social revolution” needed to eradicate domestic violence.

“Domestic violence and domestic homicide is everyone’s business,” she said.  

“We need a social revolution to bring this issue into the open, to address it seriously, to see it and treat it and name it as the barbaric crime that it is.  

"I have faith in my country to lead the way, to be the safest country for women and children.”

She said Ireland needs to "wake up to the unassailable fact and evidence that the most dangerous threat to women’s safety comes from within the home, within their relationships.”