Justice chiefs in the Republic have been told to rewrite proposed domestic violence laws to make abuse of a wife or girlfriend a specific offence.
The United Nations committee against torture warned the Irish government to revise promised legislation to include the crime of physical and psychological attack of a woman in a relationship.
It said all allegations of domestic violence should be recorded as such by gardai.
Alongside calls for new data gathering on the extent of the problem in Ireland, the UN said women who are victims of domestic violence should not have to pay any contribution for legal aid if they cannot afford it.
In a report published by the UN following a review last month, it said: "The committee remains concerned that a significant percentage of Irish women reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence and at reports that there are many cases in which the authorities have not sought appropriate punishments for perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence."
The Republic's Department of Justice told the committee during last month's hearings that it is "considering the possibility" of amending the Domestic Violence Bill.