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The Qur'an is the primary source in analyzing an issue,Followed by Sunnah (Prophet's example). Then Muslims are to make their own analytical reasoning based on their understanding of the Qur'an, Sunnah and the understanding of SahabaIkram. The Islamic jurists classified "Objectives of the Shari'ah" (Maqasid al-Shari'ah). The Maqasid contains five objectives in total. They are the protection and promotion of: life, religion (Deen E Islam), property (or wealth), family (offspring), and dignity.

Thus, there are many elements that are analyzed in order to find guidance in Islam. Furthermore, all elements promote equality with justicebetween sexes, respect among marriage partners, and respect for women.





Table of Contents


The Islamic Solution

Kind treatment towards others is a sign of piety


While domestic violence exists in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies, the position of Islam on the kind treatment of women is very clear as mentioned in the Quran and exemplified through the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad ().


“Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” Quran Surah 49:13


It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad () said, “The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you are those who are the best to their women. Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1162


The Prophet () also taught that a husband’s treatment of his wife reflects a Muslim’s good character, which in turn is a reflection of his faith. The character of the Prophet Muhammad () exemplified how one should be good to his wife. He should smile, not hurt her emotionally or physically, remove anything that will harm her, treat her gently, and be patient with her. He should communicate effectively with her, involve her in decision making and support her in times of difficultly. God instructs men to be nice to their wives and to treat them well to the best of their ability. A devout Muslim should always remember that pleasing his wife is part of faith and earns the pleasure of God, whilst dealing with her unjustly will earn God’s anger.


“And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.”Quran surah Nisa 4:19

Realistically, human beings are imperfect and, in this regard, the Prophet Muhammad () said, “A believing man should not hate a believing woman. If he dislikes something in her character, he should be pleased with another.”Sahih Muslim 1468


Marriage experts recommend that one should focus on character traits, just as the Prophet recommended. For example, a husband may appreciate the way his wife arranges his clean laundry, but the underlying character trait may be that she is thoughtful. Following this advice should help the husband focus and be more aware of his wife’s good attributes rather than on the negatives.


A companion asked the Prophet Muhammad () what is the right of a wife over her husband?’ He said, “That you feed her when you eat and clothe her when you clothe yourself and do not strike her face. Do not malign her and do not keep apart from her, except in the house.” Sunan AbiDawud 2142


Of all the Qur’anic passages about men and women perhaps the one most often misunderstood or misused, by both Muslims and non-Muslims, is ayath 34 of Surah an-Nisa. An English translation of this ayath reads as follows:


Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great. Quran SurahNisa4:34


First and foremost, this ayath needs two clarifications. One, that it doesn’t apply to any women, but to ONLY those women who are “rebellious” to their husbands in acts of immorality, such as lewdness, adultery, and fornication. Second, the issue of hitting is a mere symbolic tapping of the hand as a serious gesture of disgruntlement from the husband towards the wife, for her disobediences in the morality of the household, because its an issue of integrity of the family, which the husband is responsible to maintain the honor and respect of it.


Rather it’s for specific actions such as disloyalty to the husband by having an affair with another man, or committing acts of vulgarity that brings shame to the family. Even then, this symbolic tapping of the hand of the wife should be as a last resort, whence all other avenues have been exhausted in making sense of shame to the wife for her rebellious strife. Otherwise the family might disintegrate into a divorce, which is also disliked by Allah (the god), and His Final Messenger.


Retain them in kindness or release them in kindness. But do not retain them to their hurt so that you transgress (the limits). If anyone does that he wrongs his own soul. Do not take God’s instructions as a jest Qur’an Surah Baqrah 2:231

The statistics on domestic violence in the world are alarming, statistics are given below. The problem exists in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. [1]



The vast majority of dangerous, abusive and violent behavior that occurs in the privacy of people's homes is committed by men against women.  The most recent information on violence in Australia comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey (national survey of 16,400 adults in Australian aged 18 years and over) conducted in 2005. The first issue of this survey was conducted in 1996. The 2005 survey found:

  • Just under half a million Australian women reported that they had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months.


  • More than a million women had experienced physical or sexual assault by their male current or ex-partner since the age of 15 (some women may be counted twice if they experienced both physical and sexual assault). 


  • 37.8% of women who experienced physical assault in the 12 months before the survey said the perpetrator was a current or previous male partner and 34.4% said the perpetrator was a male family member or friend.  Most incidences of physical assault against women in the 12 months prior to 2005 were committed in a home (64.1%).


  • 33.3% of women had experienced physical violence since the age of 15.


  • 19.1% of women had experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.


  • 12.4% of women had been sexually abused before the age of 15, compared with 4.5% of men, between 1996 and 2005. There was an increase in the reporting of sexual assault to police from 14.9% to 18.9% between 1996 and 2005 and there was an increase in the reporting of physical violence to police from 18.5% to 36%.


  • 64% of women who experienced physical assault and 81.1% of women who experienced sexual assault still did not report it to police.  The proportion of women aged between 18 and 34 who reported experiencing physical violence has decreased but the proportion of women who reported experiencing physical violence after 45 increased over the same period.  The percentage of women who reported that their children had witnessed partner-related violence either from a current or ex-partner was lower than in 1996.


  • The majority of violence against men is committed by other men. Of men who reported that they had experienced physical violence in the 12 months before the survey, 73.7% said that the perpetrator was a male.


           Source: Department of Families, Housing and Community Affairs Fact Sheet 2 Women's Safety.[2]




Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.


Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

The 2008-09 bulletin states: "More than one in four women (28%) and around one in six men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims."


In addition, "6% of women and 4% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the past year, equivalent to an estimated one million female victims of domestic abuse and 600,000 male victims".


Campaigners claim that men are often treated as "second-class victims" and that many police forces and councils do not take them seriously. "Male victims are almost invisible to the authorities such as the police, who rarely can be prevailed upon to take the man's side," said John Mays of Parity. "Their plight is largely overlooked by the media, in official reports and in government policy, for example in the provision of refuge places – 7,500 for females in England and Wales but only 60 for men."


The official figures underestimate the true number of male victims, Mays said. "Culturally it's difficult for men to bring these incidents to the attention of the authorities. Men are reluctant to say that they've been abused by women, because it's seen as unmanly and weak."


The number of women prosecuted for domestic violence rose from 1,575 in 2004-05 to 4,266 in 2008-09. "Both men and women can be victims and we know that men feel under immense pressure to keep up the pretence that everything is OK," said Alex Neil, the housing and communities minister in the Scottish parliament. "Domestic abuse against a man is just as abhorrent as when a woman is the victim." [3]



MURDER - Every day four women die in this country as a result of domestic violence, the euphemism for murders and assaults by husbands and boyfriends. That's approximately 1,400 women a year, according to the FBI. The number of women who have been murdered by their intimate partners is greater than the number of soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.

BATTERING - Although only 572,000 reports of assault by intimates are officially reported to federal officials each year, the most conservative estimates indicate two to four million women of all races and classes are battered each year. At least 170,000 of those violent incidents are serious enough to require hospitalization, emergency room care or a doctor's attention.


SEXUAL ASSAULT - Every year approximately 132,000 women report that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and more than half of them knew their attackers. It's estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it. Every year 1.2 million women are forcibly raped by their current or former male partners, some more than once.


THE TARGETS - Women are 10 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate. Young women, women who are separated, divorced or single, low- income women and African-American women are disproportionately victims of assault and rape. Domestic violence rates are five times higher among families below poverty levels, and severe spouse abuse is twice as likely to be committed by unemployed men as by those working full time. Violent attacks on lesbians and gay men have become two to three times more common than they were prior to 1988.


IMPACT ON CHILDREN - Violent juvenile offenders are four times more likely to have grown up in homes where they saw violence. Children who have witnessed violence at home are also five times more likely to commit or suffer violence when they become adults.


IMPACT ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES - Women who are battered have more than twice the health care needs and costs than those who are never battered. Approximately 17 percent of pregnant women report having been battered, and the results include miscarriages, stillbirths and a two to four times greater likelihood of bearing a low birth weight baby. Abused women are disproportionately represented among the homeless and suicide victims. Victims of domestic violence are being denied insurance in some states because they are considered to have a "pre-existing condition." [4]



"Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report", U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., January 1994.

"The National Women's Study," Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, 1992.

"Five Issues In American Health," American Medical Association, Chicago, 1991.

Bullock, Linda F. and Judith McFarlane, "The Birth Weight/Battering Connection," Journal of American Nursing, September 1989.

McFarlane, Judith, et. al., "Assessing for Abuse During Pregnancy," Journal of the American Medical Association, June 17, 1992.

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, 1992.

Sheehan, Myra A. "An Interstate Compact on Domestic Violence: What are the Advantages?" Juvenile and Family Justice Today, 1993.

Sherman, Lawrence W. et al. Domestic Violence: Experiments and Dilemmas, 1990.


Domestic violence - the International context


  • 25% of all violent crimes reported involve a man assaulting his wife or partner. (EU Campaign Against Domestic Violence, 2000)


  • At least 1 in 3 women, or up to one billion women, have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetimes. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. (Ending Violence against Women, L Heise, M Ellsberg, M Gottemoeller, 1999)


  • In Britain, one incidence of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute (Stanko 2000).


  • The most recent British Crime Survey (2009/2010) found that 7% of women between 16 and 59 were victims of domestic violence in the previous year.


  • One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. (WHO Report, 1997)


  • International research consistently demonstrates that a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped, or killed by a current or former partner than by any other person. Findings from nearly 80 population-bases studies indicate that between 10% and 60% of women who have ever been partnered have experienced at least one incident of physical violence from a current or former partner. [Ellsberg &Heise, 2005, WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence]


  • One in four people across the EU knows a woman among friends or in the family circle who is a victim of domestic violence. One person in five knows of someone who commits domestic violence in their circle of friends and family. [Special Eurobarometer 344, Domestic Violence Against Women Report, September 2010]


Domestic violence - a pattern, not an isolated event

  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other type of crime. (2000 British Crime Survey: England and Wales. Home Office 2001)

  • Irish research found that 24% of those who had experienced domestic violence, reported experiencing one form of violence, 25% had experienced two or three types of violence, 20% had experienced four to seven types of violence and 31% had experience eight or more types. ([Fiona Bradley, et al. Reported Frequency of Domestic Violence; Cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. British Medical Journal; Vol. 324: Pg. 271)


  • 47% of men who beat their wives do so at least 3 times a year. (AMA Diagnostic & Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence, SEC: 94-677:3M;9/94 (1994))


  • Almost three quarters of incidents of domestic violence (73%) involve repeat offending, with over one in four victims (27%) attacked three or more times. [Third Special Report: Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and "Honour"-Based Violence, House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, 31st October 2008.]


Domestic violence and female homicide

  • Since 1996, there have been 207 women murdered in the Republic of Ireland. 130 women (63%) were killed in their own homes. (Women's Aid Female Homicide Media Watch, March 2015)


  • In the resolved cases 84 women (55%) were murdered by a partner or ex-partner. (Women's Aid Female Homicide Media Watch, March 2015)


  • Another 52 (34%) women were killed by someone they knew (e.g. brother, son, neighbour, acquaintance). Thus, a total of 136 women (90%) were killed by someone known to them. In all of the resolved cases, 99% of perpetrators were male and 1% was female. (Women's Aid Female Homicide Media Watch, March 2015)


  • In the UK between 2001 and 2002, 46% of female homicide victims compared with 5% of male homicide victims were killed by a current or former partner. Over 2 women a week were killed by a former or current partner during this period. (Flood-Page et al, Crime in England and Wales 2001/2002: Supplementary Volume, Home Office, 2003)


  • 40 - 70% of women who are murdered worldwide are killed by their current or former husband or boyfriend. (World Report on Violence and Health, WHO, 2002).


  • In 2007, 45% of female homicide victims in the US were murdered by a male partner or ex-partner, compared to 5% of men. [Female Victims of Violence, Bureau Of Justice Statistics Selected Findings, September 2009, USDOJ]


Domestic Violence and young women

  • In a national survey on domestic abuse, almost 60% of people who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships experienced the abuse for the first time under the age of 25.[Domestic abuse of men and women in Ireland, National Crime Council & ESRI 2005]


  • In a recentUSI survey of students at third-level institutions in Ireland, 1 in 5 women surveyed experienced some form of unwanted sexual experience, with 11% experiencing unwanted sexual contact.


  • 40 women aged between 18 and 25 years old have been murdered in the Republic of Ireland since 1996. Of the resolved cases, 52% of women were murdered by a boyfriend or former partner. (Women's Aid Female Homicide Media Watch, December 2014)


  • 25% of teenage girls surveyed in the UK had experienced physical violence by their boyfriends and 1 in 6 girls disclosed being pressurised into sexual intercourse. [Barter et al (2009) Partner exploitation and violence in teenage intimate relationships, London: NSPCC]


  • A 2008 survey of Bliss readers in the UK found that 1 in 5 girls have been physically hurt by someone they were dating. For sixteen year old girls, this goes up to 1 in 4. [Expect Respect Campaign, Women's Aid Federation, December 2008]


  • In a 2007 survey of 715 university students, 44% knew at least one woman or girl who had been hit by a boyfriend or partner. [Amnesty International (Northern Ireland) 2007 survey of the 4 University of Ulster Campuses]


  • In a recent UK study of women students' experiences of harassing, stalking, violence and sexual assault, one in seven survey respondents has experienced a serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student [National Union of Students: Hidden Marks, a study of women students' experiences of harassing, stalking, violence and sexual assault, 2010]


  • 95% of young women and 84% of young men reported knowing someone who had experienced abuse, violence and harassment ranging from being forced to have sex, to being followed, to being hit by a partner. The persons known were mainly young women. 19% of young women and 34% of young men do not think being forced to have sex is rape. [Women's Aid, Teenage Tolerance: The Hidden Lives of Young Irish People, 2001]


  • In the UK, women aged 16-19 are at the highest risk of sexual assault (7.9 %), stalking (8.5 %) and domestic abuse (12.7). Women aged 20-24 are only slightly less at risk of stalking (7.5 %) and domestic abuse (11.1 %). [DPP KeirStarmer QC, Press Release: Prosecutors and Police must protect women in the home, 12th April 2011]


Sexual violence

  • Almost one quarter (23.6%) of perpetrators of sexual violence against women were intimate partners or ex-partners. ('The Savi Report: Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland; A National Study of Irish Experiences, Beliefs and Attitudes Concerning Sexual Violence', 2002)
  • 4 out of 10 women attending General Practice who had been involved in sexual relationship with a man experience violence ('Reported frequency of domestic violence; cross sectional survey of women attending general practice', Bradley, Fiona et al. 2002)


  • Dublin Rape Crisis Centre's National Helpline carried out 12,192 counselling calls in 2013. 78% of callers were female. Trained volunteers at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre attended the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit with 231 victims in 2013 (Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Annual Report 2013).


  • 2,339 sexual offences were recorded by An Garda Síochána in 2010. This figure includes 476 rapes and 1,514 sexual assaults. (Garda Recorded Crime Statistics, Central Statistics Office, 2006 - 2010)


  • 21% of adult women survivors of sexual violence disclosed that their partner or ex-partner was the perpetrator of the violence. [National Rape Crisis Statistics, Rape Crisis Network of Ireland, 2011]


  • Since the introduction of legislation to criminalize rape within marriage in 1990 there has only been one successful conviction under this law. [As reported in the Irish times, 21st November 2006]


Domestic violence - an issue of gender

  • 1 in 7 women in Ireland compared to 1 in 17 men experience severe domestic violence. Women are over twice as likely as men to have experienced severe physical abuse, seven times more likely to have experienced sexual abuse, and are more likely to experience serious injuries than men. (National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005)


  • 90% of the more systematic, persistent and injurious violence that is instrumental in the maintenance of power, is perpetrated by men. (Male Victims of Domestic Violence: A Substantive and Methodology Research Review, Michael S. Kimmel, 2001)


  • A major study of police reports and crime surveys in the UK, USA and Canada found that between 90 and 97% of perpetrators of violence in intimate relationships are men. (Dobash and Dobash, Women, Violence and Social Change, 1992)


  • In the five years ending in March 2010, more than 312,100 defendants were prosecuted for domestic violence in the UK. 93% of defendants were men and 85% of victims were women. [Violence against Women Crime Report 2009-2010, UK Crown Prosecution Service]


Domestic violence and the legal system

  • Applications to the District Court under the domestic violence legislation increased by 5% to 13,275 from 12,655 in 2012. There was a 6% increase in applications for safety orders (5,334 as compared to 5,026 in 2012) and an 8% increase in applications for protection orders (4,529 as compared to 4,192 in 2012). Applications for interim barring orders showed a slight increase (674 as compared to 648 in 2012) while applications for barring orders showed a slight decrease from 2,789 to 2,738. [Court Services Annual Report 2013]


  • The Garda Recorded Crime Statistics Report for 2010 states that there were 1,184 incidents of Breaching Domestic Violence Orders Offences in that year alone. (Central Statistics Office, Garda Recorded Crime Statistics 2006-2010)


  • In 2005, the Gardaí recorded 5,459 incidents of domestic abuse. (An Garda Síochána Annual Report, 2005)
    90% of domestic abuse offenders in 2003 were male, whilst 93% of complainants were female. Of the 1,418 arrests made in relation to domestic abuse, 1,203 were charged and 650 were convicted. (An Garda Siochana Annual Report, 2003).


  • On average a woman will be assaulted by her partner or ex-partner 35 times before reporting it to the police. (Yearnshire, S. 'Analysis of cohort', IN Bewley S, Friend J and Mezey G (Eds.) Violence Against Women. London. RCOG, 1997)


  • Only 29% of women who had experienced severe abuse had reported it to An Garda Síochána. [National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005]


  • National research carried out in 1999 found that between 1% and 6% of domestic violence offenders in Ireland receive a prison sentence. [Kelleher & O'Connor, Safety and Sanctions, Women's Aid, 1999]


Domestic violence and homelessness

  • In 2013, there were 2,052 admissions of women and 2,787 admissions of children to refuge in Ireland. (Safe Ireland Domestic Violence Services National Statistics 2013)


  • On over 3,494 occasions in 2013, services were unable to accommodate women and their children because the refuge was full or there was no refuge in their area. (Safe Ireland Domestic Violence Services National Statistics 2013).


  • In 2003, 26% of women who presented as homeless to the Irish Homeless Persons Unit had become homeless as a result of domestic violence. (O'Connor & Wilson, Safe Home, Sonas Housing Association Model of Supported Transitional Housing, 2004)


  • According to the Council of Europe minimum of one refuge place (space to accommodate a woman and her children) per 10,000 people, there should be 446 family refuge places in Ireland. In reality, there are 143. [Kelly & Dubois (2008) Combating violence against women: minimum standards for support services, Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs, COE]


  • In a survey of homeless women in Cork, one quarter (24%) of women first became homeless because of domestic violence. This figure rose to 37% for women aged 27-44. [Good Shepherd Services & Cork Simon Community (2011) Women's Health & Homelessness in Cork]


Domestic violence and children

  • In 2013, there were 3207 specific incidents of child abuse disclosed to the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline. In another 1,204 calls it was disclosed that children were present in homes where domestic violence was a feature. (Women's Aid Annual Report, 2013)

  • In the UK, nearly 75% of children on the 'at risk' register live in households where domestic violence occurs. (UK Department of Health, 2002)


  • Safety and Sanctions, research conducted by Women's Aid into domestic violence and the enforcement of law in Ireland in 1999, showed that children were present in the house or witnessed the violence in a significant amount of cases. (Safety & Sanctions, Women's Aid, 1999)


  • In Making the Links, 64% of women who experienced violence reported that their children had witnessed the violence. (Making the Links, Women's Aid, 1995)


  • An overview of research studies found that in between 30-66% of cases, the same perpetrator is abusing both the mother and the children. [Edleson, J., Children's witnessing of adult domestic violence, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 14. 839-870, 1999]


Domestic violence and health


  • Women who have experienced domestic violence are at an increased risk of depression and suicide attempts; physical injuries; psychosomatic disorders; unwanted pregnancies; HIV and other STD's; being killed by a partner. (World Health Organisation, World Report on Violence and Health, 2002)


  • A study conducted by the Rotunda Maternity Hospital found that in a sample of 400 pregnant women, 12.5% (1 in 8) had experienced abuse while they were pregnant. (O'Donnell S, Fitzpatrick John M, McKenna PF, Abuse in Pregnancy - The Experience of Women, Nov 2000, Vol 98, No. 8)


  • 5% of women in Ireland who experienced severe abuse in an intimate relationship suffered a miscarriage as a result of the abuse. (National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005)


  • 30% of women who experience domestic violence are physically assaulted for the first time in pregnancy. [Responding to Violence against Women and Children - the role of the NHS, The report of the Taskforce on the Health Aspects of Violence Against Women and Children, March 2010]


  • A UK report citing domestic violence in pregnancy as a significant indicator of poor maternal and child health outcomes, including maternal mortality, found that 70 out of 295 women (24%) who died during pregnancy or within six weeks of giving birth had a history of domestic violence. 19 of these women were murdered. [CEMACH (2007) Saving Women's Lives: Reviewing Maternal Deaths to Make Motherhood Safer 2003 - 2005 CEMACH UK]


Leaving and post-separation abuse

  • In Making the Links, the single biggest reason why women did not leave violent partners was having nowhere to go (88%). 77% of women cited economic dependence as the main barrier to leaving. 44% of women cited fear of further violence as the main reason for not leaving. (Making the Links, Women's Aid, 1995)


  • 30% of victims who disclosed being severely abused said that the abuse continued after the relationship had ended. (National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005)


  • 76% of women who have separated from abusive partners suffer post-separation violence. Of these women, 76% were subjected to continual verbal and emotional abuse; 41% were subjected to serious threats, (either towards themselves or their children); 23% were subjected to physical violence; 6% were subjected to sexual violence. (Humphreys &Thiara, Routes to Safety, Women's Aid Federation UK, 2002)


  • 17% of callers to the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline in 2012 disclosed that they were abused by an ex-spouse or partner. This figure jumps to 49% in our One to One Service.  The types of abuse disclosed after the relationship has ended included: physical and sexual assaults, stalking, including being followed, harassed by phone calls, text messages or social networks, publicly humiliating the woman, and damage to her new partner, home and property. [Women's Aid Annual Report 2013]


Domestic Violence and minority women

  • In 2013, 30% of new women using the Women's Aid One to One Support Services were migrant women who face additional barriers when affected by domestic violence (Women's Aid Annual Report 2013).


  • 37% of women accessing refuge identified themselves as Travellers, 6% as Black, and 2% as Asian. It is important not to draw conclusions about levels or severity of domestic violence amongst particular minority ethnic communities given some appear 'over-represented' in refuge provision. Instead it shows that minority women face additional barriers to obtaining long-term safety and lack other possible options than emergency accommodation. [SAFE Ireland (2009) Safety & Change: A national study of support needs and outcomes for women accessing refuge provision in Ireland]


  • Non-indigenous minority ethnic women only comprise approximately 5% of Ireland's population, but represented 13% of those seeking services from gender-based violence organisations. Traveller women make up 0.5% of population but represent 15% of service users. [The Women's Health Council (2009) Translating Pain Into Action: A study of Gender-based Violence and Minority Ethnic Women in Ireland.]


  • Barriers to fulfilling minority ethnic women's needs identified by gender-based violence services and minority ethnic organisations were: inadequate resources, absence of staff training, and the Habitual Residence Condition. Most GBV organisations identified language and the absence of interpretation services as barriers. [The Women's Health Council (2009)Translating Pain Into Action: A study of Gender-based Violence and Minority Ethnic Women in Ireland.]


Domestic Violence and injury

  • In 2013, there were 3,711 incidents of physical assaults disclosed to the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline. Reported physical abuse included being gagged, kicked and beaten; being choked, strangled and stabbed; being slammed against the wall; being spat on, having hair pulled and being scalded; and being beaten and raped while pregnant. [Women's Aid Annual Report 2013]


  • 49% of women injured by their partner's violence required medical treatment and 10% required a hospital stay. [National Crime Council and ESRI, Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland, 2005]


  • Irish research found that of women who had experienced violent behaviour, 46% had been injured. Serious violent incidents were common, 10% of women were punched in the face; 10% punched or kicked on the body, arms, or legs; 9% choked; and 9% forced to have sex. [Bradley, F, et al. (2002) Reported Frequency of Domestic Violence; Cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. British Medical Journal; Vol. 324]


  • For women aged 15-44 worldwide, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined. [WHO (1997) Violence Against Women: A Priority Health Issue]


The economic cost of domestic violence

  • The estimated economic cost of domestic violence to the Irish economy is €2.2billion a year. This is based on the Council of Europe (COE) figure that domestic violence costs each member state €555 per citizen (amounting to a total cost of €33 billion for the whole COE) annually in policing, health bills, lost productivity and court procedures. [Ahern, TD, Dermot, Minister for Justice, speaking at the International Conference on Domestic Violence, Waterford, May 2008, quoted in 'Domestic Violence costs the country €2.2bn', The Irish Examiner, 30.5.08]


  • In Northern Ireland, £180,000,000 is the estimated total annual cost of domestic violence. [Joint NIO/DHSSPS Strategy (2005) Tackling Violence at Home]


  • In Australia, it is estimated that if domestic violence against women was eliminated, potential costs savings of $207 million in the health sector and $1,801 million in production and leisure costs could be realised over time. [Cadilhac, DA et al (2009) The health and economic benefits of reducing disease factors, Deakin University]


Trafficking and sexual exploitation

  • Between January 2007 and September 2008, 102 women were identified by ten services as being trafficked into or through Ireland. These women were aware of a further 64 women who were trafficked into Ireland. None of the 102 women knew they were specifically being recruited for the sex industry. [Kelleher Associates (2009) Globalisation, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: The Experiences of Migrant Women in Ireland, Dublin: Immigrant Council of Ireland.]


  • Approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders. Approximately 80% of these people are women and girls and up to 50% are minors. The majority of these women and girls are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. [Trafficking in Persons Report, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, US Department of State, June 2007]


  • The annual global profits made from human trafficking for forced commercial sexual exploitation are estimated at US$27.8billion. [Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: Estimating the Profits Working Paper, ILO, Geneva, 2005]


  • 1 in 15 men in Ireland reported that they buy sex. 25% of men who bought sex stated that they had met a woman who they felt was being forced into prostitution. [Layte et al (2006) The Irish Study of Sexual Health & Relationships, Dublin: Crisis Pregnaqncy Agency & Department of Health & Children; Escort Surveys (2006) Irish Escort Client Surveys]


  • International research which conducted interviews with 207 trafficked women revealed severe levels of violence, 95 per cent of women had been subjected to physical or sexual violence with 75 per cent physically hurt and 90 per cent reporting sexual assault. [Zimmerman et al., 2006]


  • The vast majority (89%) of women involved in prostitution want to stop. [Farley, M et al (2003) 'Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder', in Farley, M., Prostitution,Trafficking and Traumatic Stress, Haworth Press.]







See also:Alcohol- The Mother Of Evils












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