The number of women making contact with Women’s Aid’s hit a record high last year, the organisation has revealed in its annual impact report.
During the pandemic, many women found themselves trapped in lockdown with abusive partners and women’s organisations across the globe found themselves inundated with calls asking for help.
Women’s Aid had hoped the end of restrictions would change things but the numbers have continued to rise.
“It was a record high this year, unfortunately,” Helpline manager Linda Smith told Newstalk Breakfast.
“Post-COVID, we had hoped to see a decrease but, unfortunately, 2022 just showed us an increase of 16% on the previous year.
“So, we had 31,229 contacts to our services - which includes the national freephone helpline and our regional services also.”
Despite this, Ms Smith said the numbers were only the “tip of the iceberg” and large numbers of women still suffer in silence.
The figures encompass a range of abuse - whether it is emotional, sexual, physical or financial abuse.
In addition, the figures also include 5,412 instances of abuse against children.
Ms Smith said it was “good news” that people are reaching out and said it was likely down to greater awareness of Women’s Aid’s services.
“Once we continue to have conversations like this, it means women will know that they’re not on their own,” she said.
“The positive thing around the national freephone helpline is that it is a gateway to all services, all domestic violence specialist services around the country.”
Ms Smith said violence against women is now on “everybody’s radar” and there has been an increase in support from the Government as well.
“The Government has given additional resources to frontline services but that’s been a long time coming,” she said.
If you are affected by domestic violence, you can contact Women’s Aid’s 24 hour National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.
Main image: Staged file photo depicts a domestic violence situation.