By Cait Caden
Three women were murdered in Ireland by men they knew before the end of the third month of 2019.
Cathy Ward was murdered by her husband in early March, Elzbieta Piotrowska was killed by her son in January and Jasmine McMonagle was killed in her home by a man also.
“Women are actually safer staying in an abusive relationship,” said DCU lecturer and researcher of domestic violence and abuse Melissa Corbally,
Corbally added that women who leave an abusive relationship are more at risk of being murdered.
221 women have died in Ireland in 23 years and 56 per cent of the people who commit these murders are the partners or the ex-partners of the female victims, however the majority of women murdered in Ireland knew their killers personally. 61 per cent of the victims were also murdered in their own home.
Corbally believes one of the main problems in tackling domestic abuse is the lack of collaborative and unified data collection in relation to physical abuse towards women.
The rates of domestic violence are not often accurately measured, according to Corbally,
She stated that frequency is one of the main things which can lead to confusion in relation to the rates of domestic abuse. For example, some reports state that a victim was hit by her attacker. However, this does not specify how many times or the time period that the victim was hit.
As a result of this “lack of comparable data,” Corbally stated it is difficult to create policy to accurately deal with the rise of women being murdered as a result of domestic abuse.
The Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016 – 2021 was a strategy launched by TD France Fitzgerald which aimed to tackle this issue.
However, since that strategy was launched, some of the most brutal attacks on women took place in Ireland.
Landmark cases happened in 2018 in relation to women being violently murdered by men. One was the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her and children by her husband. He used a hatchet and his bare hands.
The second was the abduction and assault of Jastine Valdez.
“Things are going in the right direction,” said Corbally on what is being done about the rate of domestic abuse in Ireland. She added that there is a lot “more to be done.”
Seven women were murdered in 2018 and eight were murdered in 2017, according to Femicide Watch Reports done by Women’s Aid.
Women’s Aid also found that although seven women were violently murdered last year, only 7 per cent of those who suffered domestic abuse rang a helpline.
Women’s Aid could not be reached for a comment before publication.