Businesswoman Norah Casey has said employers asking for proof of domestic violence is a 'tone-deaf' idea.
She was speaking after lobby group IBEC suggested that employers should be allowed to ask for proof to stop any potential abuse of paid leave.
In September, the Government introduced a bill that would give victims a right to five days of annual leave.
Norah, who was in an abusive relationship for several years, told Lunchtime Live: "I think it's the most tone-deaf statement I've seen in quite a while.
"I don't believe most employers are worried about this, I think most good employers would want to go out of their way to provide good support in the workplace for people who are struggling with domestic abuse," she said.
"To ask a woman to re-traumatise herself by providing evidence of the abuse is just the worst thing I've heard in some time."
'Behind closed doors'
Norah said that only about 20% of people suffering abuse actually come forward.
"We've just been through COVID, where there's a vast increase in the number of women reporting domestic violence and abuse to the Gardaí.
"Everyone is talking about what more we can do to help women in those kind of situations, and here IBEC come out saying: 'Not only do we not agree with it, because there's loads of other things you could use, but we also want proof'.
"The reality is I think less than 20% of women report abuse because they're so worried about the fact that they can't prove it.
"The whole point is it happens behind closed doors."
'How can you prove that?'
Norah said anything other than physical violence would be impossible to prove.
"Not all abuse is violence - the abuse I struggled with was violence - so what is it: you have to show your black eyes and your broken bones in order to provide proof?
"For the vast majority of women it could be coercion, and how can you possibly prove that?
"Of course employers have rights, but so do employees - that's a significant breach of privacy issue."
'Hopeful times have changed'
Norah recalled the day she left her husband.
"The day I left my abusive husband I had to go into work, and I was working in a really busy high-pressured environment.
"I think I had my coat on backwards, I didn't know what I was thinking or what I was saying.
"I felt I'd just driven off a cliff - I couldn't approach my employer, I couldn't talk to anybody in the workplace [about] what was happening to me.
"I'm just so hopeful that times have changed now," she added.
Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the Women's Aid 24hr national freephone helpline on 1800-341-900