Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Thousands of children being abused

More than 11,000 calls were made to Women's Aid last year, with 44 per cent disclosing children were also directly abused or present

Thousands of children are being emotionally, physically and sexually abused in the family home, figures have revealed.

More than 2,000 women who called a domestic violence helpline said their children also suffered at the hands of a perpetrator, and another 3,000 youngsters saw their mothers threatened, beaten and raped.

Margaret Martin, director of Women's Aid, said domestic violence remains a serious problem in Irish society.

More than 11,000 calls reporting 13,000 incidents were made to the charity last year - with 44% disclosing children were also directly abused or present.

"Women have told us that their children were being hit, smacked, constantly shouted at, and in some cases, sexually abused," said Ms Martin.

"Many children will witness their mother being shouted at, threatened, physically assaulted and at times will see their mother being raped.

"Where they do not directly see the abuse occurring they may overhear abusive incidents, or will see the aftermath of it such as bruises, broken bones, damaged furniture and belongings."

Ms Martin said thousands of women across Ireland are living in a constant state of fear that the next attack will result in serious injury or death.

"In 2011, women disclosed that they were punched, slapped, kicked, held down and strangled and beaten with household items," she said.

Women's Aid has appealed for public funds for its freephone helpline, 1800 341 900, which is open from 10am to 10pm seven days a week.

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