Women's Aid responded to almost 16,000 helpline calls in 2016

The charity says they received 3,823 disclosures of child abuse last year

Women's Aid responded to almost 16,000 helpline calls in 2016

Margaret Martin, Director of Women's Aid. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Women's Aid says they responded to nearly 16,000 phone calls through their helpline last year.

The domestic violence charity's freephone service began running 24 hours a day in 2016, and calls to the helpline amounted to an average of 44 per day.

96% of callers were female, while 4% were male.

Officials from the group say that calls between 10pm and 10am had gone unanswered in previous years.

They say the safest time for many women to call for help is in the early hours of the morning.

Meanwhile, the organisation says they recorded a total of 16,946 disclosures of domestic violence against women in 2016, as well as 3,823 disclosures of child abuse.

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid, said: “Last year we responded to 15,952 calls on our 24 hour helpline. We also met with just over 1,000 women in our Dublin based one to one support series. During these contacts women revealed the horrific abuse by their boyfriends, partners and husbands and the impact on their emotional and physical well-being.

"Women were left with broken bones and teeth, bruising, head injuries and internal injuries as a result of rape.  Some women experienced miscarriage because of an assault while others were experiencing post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression and exhaustion.” 

She added: "In 2016, women told us on 3,823 occasions that their children were being hit, slapped, shouted at and called names, and in some cases, sexually abused. Children have been told they will be killed alongside their mothers. At times, the perpetrator of the abuse has deliberately targeted the children as a way to hurt both them and their mother.”

Women's Aid 24/7 freephone helpline can be reached on 1800 341 900