Graphic Logo for COSC depicting a harp and text

The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. What The Research Tells Us



 What the Research Tells Us:

There is strong evidence that domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is underreported in Ireland. On this page you find a range of recent statistics and findings from the following sources:

FRA EU Survey on Violence Against Women (2014)

 The survey findings are based on face-to-face interviews with 42,000 randomly selected women (approximately 1,500 per country) aged 18-74 years, across the EU’s 28 Member States. Using a standardised interview questionnaire, women were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’) as well as the consequences of such violence, and their experience of services contacted. The survey also covered experiences of stalking, sexual harassment, their childhood experiences of violence, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse.


Extent of the problem

  • An estimated 13 million women in the EU have experienced physical violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews.

  • An estimated 3.7 million women in the EU have experienced sexual violence in the course of 12 months before the survey interviews. 

Overall prevalence of physical and sexual violence

  • One in three women (33 %) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old.

  • Some 8 % of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the 12 months before the survey interview.

  • Out of all women who have a (current or previous) partner, 22 % have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner since the age of 15. 

Characteristics of physical violence

  • Some 31 % of women have experienced one or more acts of physical violence since the age of 15.

  • While women are most likely to indicate that they were pushed or shoved, excluding this form of violence has only a limited effect on the overall prevalence of physical violence, bringing it down from 31 % to 25 %.

  • This result reflects the fact that many women who say they have been pushed or shoved have also experienced other forms of physical violence. 

Characteristics of sexual violence

  • In total, 11 % of women have experienced some form of sexual violence since they were 15 years old, either by a partner or some other person.

  • One in 20 women (5 %) has been raped since the age of 15.

  • Of those women who indicate they have been victims of sexual violence by a non-partner, almost one in 10 women indicates that more than one perpetrator was involved in the incident when describing the details of the most serious incident of sexual violence they have experienced 

Details of intimate partner violence

  • One third of victims (34 %) of physical violence by a previous partner experienced four or more different forms of physical violence.

  • The most common forms of physical violence involve pushing or shoving, slapping or grabbing, or pulling a woman’s hair.

  • Whereas in most cases violence by a previous partner occurred during the relationship, one in six women (16 %) who has been victimised by a previous partner experienced violence after the relationship had broken up.

  • Of those women who experienced violence by a previous partner and were pregnant during this relationship, 42 % experienced violence by this previous partner while pregnant. In comparison, 20 % experienced violence by their current partner while pregnant. 

Details of non-partner violence

  • One in five women (22%) has experienced physical violence by someone other than their partner since the age of 15. 

Initial analysis highlighted notable differences in the Irish experience compared to the EU average follows.


Physical, Sexual and Psychological Violence

  • According to the study fewer Irish women surveyed experienced sexual violence by a partner or a non-partner since the age of 15 (8% of Irish women surveyed compared to an EU average of 11% of women surveyed).

  • Fewer Irish women surveyed experienced a number of constituents of domestic abuse by a partner compared to the EU average and are among the lowest in Europe

o Psychological violence (31% compared to 43%).
o Controlling behaviour (23% compared to 35%).
o Economic violence (10% compared to 12%).
o Abusive behaviour (24% compared to 32%).

  • More Irish women contacted the police as a result of violence compared to the EU average

o by a partner (21% compared to 14%), or .
o by a non-partner (16% compared to 13%).

Violence in Childhood

  • Fewer girls in Ireland experienced physical or sexual violence before the age of 15 compared with the EU average (26% compared with 33%).

  • The categories of perpetrators of physical violence against girls before the age of 15 in Ireland was not typical of the EU average with

o Fewer fathers, step or foster fathers (23% of cases of physical violence compared with 58%)
o More male teachers, doctors or priests (13% of cases compared with 6%) and
o More female acquaintances, friends or neighbours (17% of cases compared with 4%).


Opinions, Attitudes and Awareness

  • More women in Ireland perceived the frequency of violence against women to be "very common" when compared to the EU average (33% compare with 27%).

  • A greater number of women reported knowing a victim of domestic violence in their family or circle of friends (41% compared with 39%).

  • Fewer women reported being aware of laws and political initiatives to prevent domestic violence against women (42% compared with 49%).


For a copy of the full report click here






Rape & Justice in Ireland (RAJI) is a report on 4 years of independent academic research undertaken in the Faculty of Law, NUIG, by a team led by Dr. Conor Hanly. The academic expertise within the team included qualifications in criminology, the law, psychology, statistics, sociology, political science and equality. The research was commissioned by Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI).


The research looked at three populations/sets of materials.

  • Strand 1 > Survivors of adult rape committed since 2002 who were over 18 at the time – 100 survivors participated.
  • Strand 2 > Prosecution stage – 596 DPP files, received between 2000 and

2004 inclusive were examined.

  • Strand 3 > Rape trials which went before the Central Criminal Court between

2000 and 2005 - 173 cases were examined.


Some Findings

  • Over two-thirds of incidents of rape occurred in houses, with the victims’ own home being the single most common location.
  • One-third of the rapes were committed by strangers, 39 per cent by friends or acquaintances and 18 per cent by current or previous intimate partners. All told, two-thirds of the participants were raped by someone known to them.
  • 77 per cent of participants had been drinking at the time of the incident; 30 per cent had consumed in excess of six drinks.
  • Thirty-four per cent of participants had not made a report to the Gardaí, but the single most commonly stated reason was that the victim did not want others to know what happened.
  • 4 out of 15 women who did not report took this decision largely because of the alcohol/drugs they had consumed.
  • Two-thirds of those who made a report to the Gardaí did so within 24 hours of the incident, with half of them making a report within an hour of the incident.
  • Almost two-thirds of the complainants who made a complaint did so in a Garda Station.
  • Of those cases that went to trial, nearly 60 per cent resulted in a conviction or a guilty plea in respect of at least one charge, sexual or non-sexual.
  • Out of 181 rape cases that went to court
  • 70 were convicted of rape, and
  •  in total 108 were convicted of some offence
  • The median length of a rape case was 33 months from date of incident to date of final disposition.
  • Cases disposed of by guilty plea typically lasted nine months less than cases that went to trial.
  • After gender, disability is the second most common risk factor for rape


 Source: Conor Hanly, Deirdre Healy, Stacey Scriver, Rape & Justice in Ireland: A National Study of Survivor, Prosecutor and Court Responses to Rape (RAJI), RCNI, Liffey Press, Dec. 2009


Attitudes to Domestic Abuse in Ireland (2008):

Research Description:

A survey, undertaken by Cosc, to examine attitudes and perceptions towards domestic abuse among the general population in Ireland.  It is based on a nationally representative sample of 2,008 randomly selected adult men and women who were normally residing in Ireland at the time of the survey..


• Just over 70 per cent of people consider domestic abuse to be a common problem in Ireland.
• 44 per cent of people know somebody who personally had been a victim of domestic abuse.
• 94 per cent of people would help a friend, 65 per cent would help a stranger and 38 per cent would help a neighbour being subjected to domestic abuse.
• 74 per cent said that other people would be unlikely to report domestic abuse incidents to An Garda Síochána.

                                                                                                      Source: Horgan et al (2008)


Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (2002):

Research Description:

A survey undertaken to estimate the prevalence of various forms of sexual violence among Irish women and men across the lifespan from childhood through adulthood.  It is  based on a nationally representative sample of 3,118 randomly selected participants from the adult general population in Ireland. The overall response rate for the study was 71 per cent.




  • 20 per cent of girls and 16 per cent boys in Ireland experience contact sexual abuse in childhood.
  • 42 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men experienced some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime.
  • 24 per cent of perpetrators of sexual violence against adult women are partners or former partners.
  • 1 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women reported their experience of sexual violence to An Garda Síochána.
  • 47 per cent of those reporting abuse in SAVI had never told anybody.
  • Alcohol was involved in almost half of the cases of sexual assault that occurred as an adult.
  • Of those that reported that alcohol was involved, both parties were drinking in 57 per cent of cases concerning abuse of women, and in 63 per cent of cases concerning abuse of men.
  • Where only one party was drinking, the perpetrator was the one drinking in the majority of cases (84 per cent of female and 70 per cent of male abuse cases).


 Source: McGee et al (2002) 


National Study of Domestic Abuse (2003):
Research Description:


A study undertaken to give an overview of the nature, extent and impact of domestic abuse against women and men in intimate partner relationships. It is based on a nationally representative statistical sample of 3,077 randomly selected adult women and men in Ireland. The response rate to the survey was 58 per cent of contacted households, rising to 93 per cent of individuals identified as eligible to participate


  • 15 per cent of women and 6 per cent of men have experienced severely abusive behaviour from a partner.
  • 11 per cent of the Irish population have experienced a pattern of abusive behaviour with actual or potential severe impact.
  • 29 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men suffer domestic abuse when severe abuse and minor incidents are combined.
  • 13 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men suffer physical abuse or minor physical incidents.
  • Study suggested that in the region of 213,000 women and 88,000 men in Ireland have been severely abused by a partner at some point in their lives.
  • Less than 25 per cent of those severely abused reported to An Garda Síochána.
  • 29 per cent of women and only 5 per cent of men report to the Garda Síochána.
  • 33 per cent of those who had been severely abused have never told anybody.
  • The association between alcohol abuse and domestic abuse has been long recognised (Leonard 1999), but there has been some dispute regarding the causal nature of the relationship.
  • In one third (34 per cent) of cases, alcohol was identified as a potential trigger for abusive behaviour.
  • In one quarter of sever abuse cases, alcohol was ‘always’ involved.
  • In this survey, 44 per cent of cases of abuse involved alcohol ‘some of the time’. In 27 per cent of cases there was ‘always’ alcohol involved and in 29 per cent  of cases alcohol was ‘never’ involved.

Source: Watson, D. and Parsons, S. (2005)


"SAY SOMETHING "A Study Of Students'' Experiences Of Harrassment,Stalking,Vioelnce And Sexual Assault (2013)


Research Description:

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) conducted the "SAY SOMETHING" research study of students’ experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault, with the support of Cosc (National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence).

This research study is the first of its kind and scale to be conducted in Ireland. The study took place between January 10th and February 15th 2013 with over 2,750 third level students responding online. The participants were of mixed gender and sexuality.


The report focused on the following areas; Unwanted Sexual Experiences, Physical Mistreatment, Harassment, Obsessive Behaviour and Information on Campus. Some of the key findings highlighted in the report include:


  • 16 per cent of respondents experienced some form of unwanted sexual experience while at their current educational institution
  • 1 in 5 women surveyed experienced some form of unwanted sexual experience, with 11per cent experiencing unwanted sexual contact
  • Just 3 per cent of respondents who had an unwanted sexual experience reported it to the Gardaí
  • The largest proportion of victims of unwanted sexual experiences identified the perpetrators as being acquaintances
  • 10 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men experienced obsessive behaviour that made them afraid or concerned for their safety
  • 19 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women have been photographed or filmed without their consent
  • Over 10 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women have had photographs or videos circulated online without their consent
  • 3 out of 10 women respondents experienced comments with a sexual overtone that made them feel uncomfortable
  • 51 per cent of the women surveyed discussed the issue of sexual violence with their friends, only 38 per cent of men did
  • In over six in ten cases (61 per cent for Women, 68 per cent for Men) the perpetrator was believed to be under the influence of alcohol.
  • In over six in ten cases (64 per cent for Women, 62 per cent for Men) the victim themselves were under the influence of alcohol at the time.
  • 5 per cent of those who had reported unwanted sexual experiences recorded that they had been given drugs or alcohol against their will before the incident. A further 34 students were unsure whether or not this had occurred.


Reported frequency of domestic violence: cross sectional survey of women attended general practice in Ireland (1996/97):
Research Description:


The main aim of this study was to determine exposure to violence by a partner or spouse among women (over 16yrs) attending general practice. It was conducted using a cross sectional, self administered survey of 2,615 women attending 22 Irish general practices. Between March 1996 and May 1997, each practice collected data for 2 weeks. A total of 1,871 women responded - a response rate of 72 per cent.

• 39 per cent of the 1,692 women who had ever had a sexual relationship had experienced violent behaviour by a partner.
• 69 per cent reported controlling baviour by their partner and 28 per cent feeling afraid of their previous or current partner.
• 12 per cent of those women who had experienced violence by a partner reported that their G.P. had asked them about domestic violence.
• 77 per cent of the total sample were in favour of routine enquiry about domestic violence by their usual G.P.
• Women who reported domestic violence were 32 times more likely to be afraid of their partner than women who did not report such violence.
                                                                                                                    Source: Bradley, F. et al., 2002


Listening to Children: Children's Stories of Domestic Violence

Ferguson and O’Reilly (2007) provide evidence of the prevalence of domestic violence in child protection work:

In 7 per cent of 286 cases referred to social work teams, domestic violence was the main reason for the referral. In a further 19 per cent  of cases, domestic violence was also cited as a child protection concern; this increased to 32% upon investigation.
                                                                                                       Source: Ferguson, H. and O’Reilly. M. (2007)


Women’s Aid "Making the Links" Study (1995):
Research Description:


This study, undertaken between January and August 1995, is composed of two elements: (i) a nationally representative survey of 679 randomly selected women who were surveyed, via postal questionnaire, about violence against women in intimate relationships, and (ii) information gathered in the North East of Dublin area including a self-administered survey of 240 women carried out in 6 doctors' surgeries to examine the extent and impact of violence against women; group interviews with women living in the area who had experienced domestic violence; and a survey of service providers (e.g. community welfare; social work; public health nurses; community-based voluntary organisations etc.) to examine the extent to which violence against women in the home is a presenting issue.

 (i) National Survey

• 18 per cent of women in intimate relationships reported having experienced violence at some time by a partner or ex-partner.
• 59 per cent of respondents reported knowing a woman who had experienced domestic violence, 61 percent of which were either a friend or relative.
• 13 per cent of women were subjected to mental cruelty; 10 per cent were subjected to physical violence; and 4 per cent were subjected to sexual violence.
• In 66 per cent of cases, the violence was carried out by a current partner, while 34 per cent was carried out by an ex-partner.
• 7 per cent of women were subjected to violence during the previous 12 months.
• 64 per cent of women who experience violence reported that their children had witnessed the violence
• Women who report violence are more likely to report it to a friend (50 per cent) or a relative (37 per cent).
• 20 per cent reported that they had reported the violence to An Garda Síochána.

(ii) G.P. Surgery Survey in Dublin North East Area
• 36 per cent of the 211 women in an intmate relationship reported having experienced violence at some time by a partner or ex-partner.
• 66 per cent of respondents reported knowing a woman who had experienced domestic violence, 89 per cent of which were either a friend or relative.
• 35 per cent of women were subjected to mental cruelty; 25 per cent were subjected to physical violence; and 11 per cent were subjected to sexual violence
• Of those who were subjected to physical violence, 55 per cent of them reported that they were pregnant when the violence occurred.
• 63 per cent of those who had experienced violence reported that it had an impact on their psychological and emotional well being.
• 38 per cent of the same group said that the violence had impacted negatively on their children.
• 63 per cent of those who experieced violence reported it to a friend and 46 per cent to a relative.
• 44 per cent reported that they had reported the violence to An Garda Síochána.
                                                                          Source Kelleher, C., Kelleher, P. and O’Connor, M. (1995)





Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs)


There are 6 Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs), providing the range of clinical, forensic and supportive care that may be required after an incident of sexual violence. These units are located in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Mullingar, Galway and Letterkenny. In addition to these 6 SATUs, there is an out-of-hours service at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.


  • There were 677 attendances at the 6 SATUs in the Republic of Ireland in 2013, an increase of 29 cases nationally from 2012 (when 648 patients attended).
  • 468 (69%) of incidents occurred between the hours of 21.00 – 08.59 underpinning the need for a round the clock service.
  • 530 (78%) patients reported recent sexual assaults (within 7 days).
  • 557 (82 %) cases involved a single assailant.
  • 648 (96%) patients were women and 29 (4%) were men.
  • The mean age of patients was 25.5, the youngest was 12, the eldest 86 years.
  • 503 (74%) cases were referred to the SATU by An Garda Síochána.
  • 518 (76%) patients reported the incident to An Garda Síochána, over 80% of these attended the SATU within 72 hours of the incident.
  • 366 (54%) patients had consumed > 4 units of alcohol in the 12 hours prior to the incident.
  • 73 (11%) patients were concerned that drugs had been used to facilitate sexual assault.
  • 114 (17%) patients were unsure if a sexual assault had occurred.
  • All units now offer Chlamydia prophylaxis, Hepatitis B vaccination and risk assessment for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEPSE) at time of SATU attendance. 423 (62%) received Chlamydia prophylaxis, 395 (58%) commenced a Hepatitis B immunisation programme and 41 (6%) patients started post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV.


Source: National Sexual Treatment Unit (SATU)

Annual Key Service Activity Report 2013. (2014)


An Garda Síochána crime statistics relating to sexual offences and breaches of domestic violence protection orders

Data Collection and Reporting:


(i) Sexual Offences
In 2006, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) assumed responsibility for the publication of recorded crime statistics from An Garda Síochána. The information supplied in these CSO reports refers to criminal incidents known to An Garda Síochána and recorded as such. The data used originate in the Garda PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) and the FCPS (Fixed Charge Penalty System) systems. Obviously, not every crime comes to the attention of An Garda Síochána, and the Central Statistics Office provides additional information on non-recorded crime through its victimisation surveys.

• The number of sexual offences recorded by An Garda Síochána in 2013 is up 38 per cent from the number recorded in 2009 (1480 to 2047). This rise in the number of recorded Sexual offences, is mainly due to an on-going review of all cases involving alleged sexual offences reported to An Garda Síochána. Some of these offences would have occurred at some distance in the past but were represented on the date of reclassification.
• Looking to sub-categories of sexual offences, over the same period, i.e. 2009 to 2013, instances of recorded "rape of a male or female" rose by 24 per cent (376 to 466).
• In 2013, there were 1342 recorded incidents of "sexual assault (non-aggravated)"  an increase of 33 per cent from the number of such incidents recorded in 2009 (894).
• In 2013, there were 8 recorded incidents of "aggravated sexual assault".
• In 2012, 55 per cent of the sexual offences recorded have been detected (1155). In 2009, 59 per cent have been detected.
• Relevant proceedings were taken for 317 of the sexual offences recorded in 2012. Court proceedings were commenced in relation to 312 offences. Convictions were returned in relation to 76 instances, while proceedings in relation to 207 were still pending.
• In 2012, there were 76 convictions of relevant offences for sexual offences. Only 3 of these convictions were women. The largest percentage (45 per cent) of convictions for these offences were men between the ages of 25-44 years.

(ii) Breaches of Domestic ViolenceProtection Orders

In terms of breaches of domestic violence court orders, the CSO reports incidents recorded, detected and subsequently have court proceedings and convictions for the years 2009 to 2012.
• In 2012, there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of breaches of domestic violence court orders recorded by An Garda Síochána when compared to figures for 2009 (1246 to 1320)
• In the same year, there were 323 convictions for breaches of domestic violence court orders.
• Expressed as a share of " court proceedings commenced", the rate of conviction ranges from 29 per cent (2012) to 33 per cent (2009)
• In 2012, 677 cases of breaches of domestic violence orders that had proceeded to court resulted in non-convictions.


                                            Source: Garda Crime Statistics 2008 to 2012, CSO;  
                                            and Garda Recorded Crime Quarter 4 2013, CSO 2014



The Courts Service

Data Collection and Reporting:

The computerised Criminal Case Tracking System (CCTS), implemented in 2001, is a relational database enabling the Courts Service to record and monitor the progress of criminal court cases, showing the complete lifecycle of these cases. The Criminal Justice Interoperability Pilot Project (CJIPP), introduced in mid-November, facilitates the electronic exchange of information between the Court Services CCTS and the Garda PULSE system.

District Court

Domestic Violence

NOTE: Legislation expanded the categories and therefore the number of people eligible to apply for domestic violence orders between 2009 and 2014.

• In 2014, there were 13,275 applications under the domestic violence legislation at district court compared with 9856 in 2009 - a increase of 35 per cent.
• In the same period, protection order applications increased by 41 per cent (3134 to 4406), safety order applications by 65 per cent (3322 to 5499and interim barring order applications by 28 per cent (545 to 699). Barring order applications decreased  by 6 per cent (2855 to 2671).
• Domestic violence orders made increased in 2014 when compared to 2009. In that year, 7499 orders were made compared with 5763 in 2009 a increase of 30 per cent.  The largest increase related to safety orders made where 2029 were made, a 51 per cent increase on the 2009 figure of 1339.
• Barring orders made decreased from 1106 in 2009 to 877 in 2014, an increase of 21 per cent.
• Interim barring orders made increased by 26 per cent to 569 from 451 in 2009.
• Protection orders made in 2014 also increased from 2867 in 2009 to 4024 an increase of 40%.

Sexual Offences
NOTE: Cases may involve more than one offence and more than one defendant and there may be differing results in respect of offences within one case. Therefore the number of cases may not equate to the number of offences. The information below relates to the number of sexual offences brought before the court.

• The number of cases relating to sexual offences disposed of by the  District Court increased by 55% from 1352 in 2009 to 2092 in 2013.
• The outcomes (by offence) from these 2092 cases were: dismissed (14); Struck out (108); Taken into consideration (46); Fine (34); Peace Bond (3); Disqualification (0); Community Service (4); Probation (38); Imprisonment/Detention (62); Other (1783) - The majority of these relate to cases being sent forward to a higher court for trial.

Circuit Criminal Court

Sexual Offences

NOTE: The information relating to the outcome of trials below relates to counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary, Waterford and Westmeath.

NOTE: Two or more penalties may be recorded against offence, therefore the total number of penalties is not a subset of the total number of offences. An example of a multiple penalty might be suspended sentence and an order to pay compensation.

In 2013, there were 691 sexual offence cases disposed of by the Circuit Criminal Court.
•Guilty pleas were entered in respect of 192 sexual offences with 268 sexual offences going to trial.
Nolle prosequi  was entered in respect of 137 sexual offences and there were other methods of disposal in respect of 94 sexual offences.
•There were acquittals in respect of 136 sexual offences. (See NOTE above)
•There were convictions in respect of 132 sexual offences. (See NOTE above)
•Multiple penalties imposed on these 132 convictions (by offence)  resulted in Community service (6); Suspended sentence (41); Imprisonment; (225); Bond (139); and other (171) which includes taken into consideration; struck out; forfeiture of goods/money/drugs/weapons; disqualification from driving.

High Court: Central Criminal Court 

Sexual Offences

•In 2013, the number of cases relating to rape offences disposed of by the Central Criminal Court was 567.
•In 2013, the number of cases relating to indecent/sexual assault offences disposed of by the Central Criminal Court was 923.
•Guilty pleas were entered in respect of 73 rape offences and 87 indecent/sexual assault offences with 205 rape offences and 351 indecent/sexual assault offences tried, involving a total of 72 trials.
•There were acquittals in respect of 155 rape offences and 146 indecent/sexual assault offences and nolle prosequi in respect of 106 rape cases and 270 indecent/sexual assault cases.
•There were convictions in respect of 35 rape offences and 130 indecent/sexual offences.
•Multiple penalties imposed on conviction of rape offences resulted in Imprisonment part suspended (85) and  Imprisonment (22)
•Multiple penalties imposed on conviction indecent/sexual assault offences Imprisonment part suspended (27) and  Imprisonment (189).


                                                                                      Source: The Courts Services Annual Report, 2013



Health Service Executive Elder Abuse Services:


Senior Case Workers for Elder Abuse (employed in Local Health Offices) assess and manage cases of suspected elder abuse referred to the HSE. All referrals are recorded using a ‘Record of Initial Referral - Form 5’  and a unique identifying number is assigned to each referral so as to allow it to be tracked through the service while maintaining anonymity. Below are statistics relating to the 2,437 referrals of alleged cases of elder abuse made to HSE Senior Case Workers in 2013.


Data Collection and Reporting: 

  • In total, there were 2,437 referrals made to the service in 2013. This represents an increase of 27% since 2009.
  • Female clients represent 61% of referrals.
  • A total of 3,217 abuse categories were classified - 74% of cases had one alleged abuse type, with a further 22% identifying two. When two abuse types are alleged, psychological abuse, is the most likely to be associated with another abuse type.
  • In total, 1,900 referrals in 2013 had an alleged person causing concern.
  • Younger males are increasingly likely to be referred (65-74 years) while 55% of females referred are in the over 80 age category, consistent with 2012 figures.
  • The 2013 profile indicates that the Public Health Nurse continues to be the main referral source in all areas (33%), followed by family (12%) and hospital (12%).
  • Examining where the concern first originated illustrates that 19% of concerns originate from older people themselves with a further 27% accounted for by family members.
  • Further analysis by gender found that females were marginally more likely to self refer (19% versus 17%), males were more likely to have family member (29% versus 26%) and neighbour/friend raise concerns (4% versus 1%) while PHN involvement was consistent for both genders.
  • In 2013, there were 2,680 alleged abuse categories reported among the 1,900 referrals. Psychological abuse, financial abuse and neglect were the main abuse types alleged.
  • In total 81% of clients resided at home, 7% in a private nursing home, 6% in a relative’s home and a further 4% in public continuing care. In 95% of cases the alleged abuse was documented as occurring in their primary place of residence.
  • 78% of cases had one alleged perpetrator with this increasing to 90% when two perpetrators are considered. In cases where there was one person causing concern, this person was more likely to be male (50% of cases in contrast to 39%).
  • In over half the cases the alleged abuser and alleged victim reside together thus compounding the issue for the older person.
  • The alleged perpetrators are usually those with the closest relationship to the older person namely son/daughter (45%), partner (19%) and other relative (15%).
  • In total, 1,307 cases were subject to review at year end, reflecting a 68% review rate consistent with the level reported in 2012.
  • In terms of case outcome, nationally only 27% of cases were found to be substantiated.
  • Of the 356 substantiated cases in 2013, 273 had just one type of abuse substantiated (77%) with a further 70 (20%) having two types of abuse confirmed.
  • There are many consistencies evident in the characteristics of substantiated cases in 2012 and 2013.
    • Psychological abuse was the most likely type of abuse to be confirmed.
    • Adult children are the main perpetrators of psychological, financial abuse, physical abuse and neglect. This association is strongest in relation to neglect.
    • When financial abuse is considered, the profile of abusers widens to include “other relatives”, “neighbour/friend” and “carer/staff” which correlates with the lowest cohabitation rates.
    • Male perpetrators dominate, however this varies depending on the abuse type, being highest for physical abuse.
    • Male/female joint perpetration of abuse is highest when considering psychological abuse and neglect.
    • Over two thirds of clients experiencing physical and/or psychological abuse reside with the perpetrator, rising to 76% in cases of neglect.
    • A close association is evident between increasing age and risk of neglect
  • In total, 137 incidents of substantiated physical abuse were documented.
  • Preventing the client from seeing others that care about or for them was also a significant, representing 17% of all psychological abuse cases.
  • In only 9% of cases the senior case worker contacted An Garda Síochána informally to discuss an elder abuse case. However notifications made from the HSE Elder Abuse Service to An Garda Síochána is at a rate of 22%.
  • In keeping with the non-adversarial approach of the service a low level of legal action was again recorded in 2013. In total there was legal recommendation in 246 cases with 113 resulting in legal action.
  • The most common legal actions related to domestic violence (24%), criminal proceedings (20%) and ward of court (19%). “Other legal actions” accounted for 28% of cases with power of attorney being the main action identified.
  • Case outcome information in 2013 indicated that in cases where abuse was substantiated, intervention by the SCW in collaboration with multi agencies and multi professionals saw a cessation of abuse in 55% of cases and a reduction of abuse in a further 34%. In 10% of cases abuse is ongoing.


 Source: "Open Your Eyes" HSE Elder Abuse Services 2013

Women's Aid Statistics 2014


Data Collection and Reporting:


The data collected and reported by Women's Aid is based on information disclosed by women in the process of their contacts with the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and Support Services. The primary aim of Women's Aid services is to provide support and information to women, and the statistics are based on the callers who have used the Women's Aid Helpline.

  •  In 2014, 11,167 calls were answered by the Women’s Aid helpline.
  • 77 per cent of calls were support calls primarily from women experiencing emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse.
  • 848 of these calls were silent support calls (8 per cent)
  • 16,464 disclosures of Domestic Violence against Women.
  • 10,653 disclosures of emotional (65per cent), physical (21 per cent), sexual (4 per cent) and financial (11 per cent) abuse were made.
  • There were 595 disclosures of sexual abuse including 176 rapes.
  • 80 per cent of abusers were current or former male intimates
  • Just over half (58 per cent) of the abuse disclosed was perpetrated by current male intimates, with marriage remaining the most common context for abuse (42%).
  • Abuse by a former husband or partner was disclosed by 23% of service users.
  • There were 5,786 disclosures of child abuse to the helpline and one to one support services. This figure includes 5,453 disclosures of emotional abuse and 248 disclosures where children were physically or sexually abused by the perpetrator of their mother’s abuse. It also includes 72 disclosures of where children were being abused during access visits and 13 disclosures of child abduction in context of Domestic Violence.
  • 391 callers to the Helpline identified that they were migrant women, traveller women and women with disabilities.
  • 78 calls were facilitated in 15 languages with women for whom English was not a fluent language using a number of different interpreters through this service.

                                                 Source: Women’s Aid Impact Report, 2014


According to Safe Ireland:

  • 50,077 helpline calls were answered by domestic violence services across Ireland in 2012.
  • 8,449 individual women received support from Domestic Violence Support Services in Ireland in 2012.This figure includes…
  • 6,439 individual women who received a wide range of face-to-face supports, including advocacy, emotional and practical support, information, counselling, court accompaniment and/or support groups.
  • 1,875 individual women who were accommodated and received a range of other supports in refuge.
  • In total there were 2,324 women admissions to refuges in 2012. 1,262 women were admitted to a refuge more than once in 2012
  • More than 3,606 individual children received support from Domestic Violence services in 2012. This figure includes…
  • 2,892 individual children who lived in a refuge and 169 children who lived in transitional housing.
  • In total there were 3,279 children admissions to refuges in 2012.
  • 953 children were less than 4 years old including 224 children who were 1 year or younger.
  • 130 children were aged between 15 and 18 years.
  • More than 5000 individual women accessed domestic violence services in 2006


Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) (2014):


Data Collection and Reporting:

In 2014, 14 rape crisis centres (RCCs) utilised the RCNI purposefully designed web-based recording system established in 2004. Intake interview details and personal records of RCC clients are anonymised. A number of background characteristics are recorded with respect to each person, including type of service user, current age, gender, ethnic identity and disability status. This data is then analysed for the production of RCNI's report of annual national statistics.


  • In 2014, 18,296 contacts were made to 14 RCC Helplines throughout Ireland. The nature of these calls were counselling (20%); information (31%); schedule appointment (36%); hang up (5%); silent (2%); advocacy (5%) etc.
  • In 2014, 1,913 attended 14 Rape Crisis Centres throughout Ireland for counselling and support.
  • RCCs accompanied 340 people to a range of different services in 2014, including; Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs) (80%), Gardaí (11%), other forensic and medical facilities (2%) and Court (5%).
  • Sixty-three per cent of survivors disclosed that they were subjected to sexual violence solely in childhood.
  • Three out of ten survivors stated that they were subjected to sexual violence solely in adulthood (30%).
  • Less than one out of ten survivors disclosed that they were subjected to sexual violence both as adults and children (7%).
  • Of the 1,913 survivors of sexual violence who attended RCCs for counselling and support in 2014: 85% were female and 15% were male.
  • Six out of ten survivors attending RCCs in 2014 disclosed that they were subjected to other forms of violence along with the sexual violence (65%). Other forms of violence include amongst others; physical violence, emotional/psychological violence.
  • Males acting either alone or in groups were predominantly the perpetrators of sexual violence against survivors attending RCCs.
  • The majority of perpetrators of sexual violence are known to the person they perpetrate the abuse against (93%).
  • Survivors who were under the age of 13 when the violence took place most commonly disclosed that the abusers were family members/relatives (45%).
  • Children aged 13 to 17 were more likely to be abused by non-family members, most commonly friends/acquaintances/neighbours (43%).
  • This trend of abuse being perpetrated by friends/acquaintances/neighbours continues for adult survivors where 38% disclosed this relationship to the perpetrators.
  • Most perpetrators were between the ages of 20 to 39 (50%). 15% of perpetrators of sexual violence against survivors coming to RCCs were under the age of 18.
  • Child perpetrators were most likely to abuse a child who was either the same age as themselves or slightly younger than themselves.
  • Almost one quarter of sexual violence perpetrated against children under the age of 13 was perpetrated by other children (23%). 17% of sexual violence perpetrated against children aged 13 to 17 was perpetrated by other children.
  • For 10% of survivors who came to Rape Crisis Centres in 2014, the RCC was their first experience of disclosure. Of the 90% who had previously disclosed the sexual violence to someone else, the majority disclosed to a person within their circle of trust (63%).
  • The majority of survivors of adult sexual violence disclosed that the abuse took place when they were between the ages of 18 to 29. There is on average a 5 year gap between the onset of this abuse and a victim attending an RCC for counselling and support.
  • Over three out of ten survivors who attended RCCs in 2014 reported the sexual violence to a formal authority (36%). Most of these reported to the police, but reports were also made to the HSE, Redress Board, education authority, church authority, and asylum application process.
  • Survivors of child sexual violence are less likely to report to a formal authority than survivors of adult sexual violence (36% compared with 48% respectively filed complaints).
  • The majority of survivors who filed a complaint with the Gardaí felt that the Gardaí treated them in a sensitive manner (67%).
  • One out of four survivors who reported felt that the Gardaí treated them in a neutral manner (23%) and 11% felt they were treated in an insensitive manner.
  • The majority of survivors who filed a complaint with the Gardaí disclosed that the Gardaí maintained on-going contact with them throughout the case (60%).
  • Thirteen per cent of survivors attending RCCs in 2014 were under the age of 20.
  • The majority of survivors attending RCCs in 2014 were between the ages of 20 to 49 (71%).
  • The majority of survivors attending RCCs in 2014 were from Ireland (89%). A minority were from African countries (2%), the UK (5%), other European countries (3%), and other countries (1%).
  • Eight per cent of females attending RCCs in 2014 became pregnant as a result of rape.

Source: Rape Crisis Network Ireland

National Rape Crisis Statistics 2013


Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) (2013)


Data Collection and Reporting:

Staff/Volunteers at DRCC accompanied
231 people to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) in the Rotunda Hospital
• DRCC responded to 9,614 genuine counselling contacts, 3,928 of which were first time callers. 4,955 repeat contacts were received in this period.

Of the 512 clients seen by DRCCs Counselling and Psychotherapy Service between Jan. ’13 and Dec. ’13:
• 90  per cent were female clients and 10 per cent were for men.
• 28 per cent of clients were raped or sexually assaulted as an adult by a stranger
• Partner or boyfriend accounted for 14 per cent of these adult rapes
• 55 per cent of clients were raped or sexually assaulted as an adult by other known persons

Of the 284 clients who commenced therapy in the DRCC in 2013 where the reporting status was known, 106 cases were reported  to the Gardaí. 5 cases were tried, resulting in 4 convictions or guilty pleas and 1 acquittal.

• Of the 284 cases where reporting status was known, 90 related to childhood sexual abuse and 194 to adult rape and sexual assault.

• Recent or past rape accounted for 81% of the 106 cases reported to the Gardaí, while childhood sexual abuse cases accounted for 19% of reports.
• Of the 106 cases that were reported to the Gardaí, 18 of them related to past child sexual abuse.
• Of the 106 clients who reported to the Gardaí, 20 of them related to childhood sexual abuse , while 85 per cent had been raped or sexually assaulted by someone they knew.


Source: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Annual Report, 2013


Amen (2013)


Data Collection and Reporting


Amen provides a confidential helpline, support services and information for men who have or are experiencing domestic violence.

• In 2009, there were 4,868 contacts to Amen from a total of 2263 individuals.
• The helpline is the main source of contact for Amen Support Services; this and other services are listed below.

  • 84% of contacts to the service were received through the helpline
  • 4,072 helpline calls were received from a total of 2691 individuals.
  • 80% of calls to the helpline were deemed to be crisis calls with the remaining 20% be categorised as information calls.
  • 89% (1241 individuals) of callers  were Irish
  • 76 individuals (6%) were citizens of other European countries such as England, France, Germany, Poland, etc.
  • 3% of individuals or 41 people were originally of African origin from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and South African amongst others.
  • The majority of callers to the organisation were aged between 40 and 50 years old with 190 individuals stating they were in this age bracket. 147 individuals reported they were in the 30 – 40 years old age range. 41 callers were aged between 60 and years old. Support workers recorded that 9 individuals were aged over 70 years of age. 33 callers were aged between 18 and 30 years old.
  • 1,694 new individuals contacted the service in 2013.
  • 325 one to one client information sessions were delivered (Amen office and Dolphin House combined)
  • 107 hours of counselling was provided to men struggling to come to terms with the effects of domestic abuse. These sessions were delivered to 22 individuals.

• 1332 new men contacted the service with 613 new male clients availing of support and assistance from the organisation.

• 2013 saw a 3% increase from the previous year on repeat contacts to the service. 2958 contacts from 1500 individuals were recorded during 2013.

• As expected, 86% of contacts to the service were from men. 3989 contacts were from men whilst 672 contacts were received from women.

• Of those individuals whose ethnicity is known:

- 89% were Irish

- 6% were other European

- 3% African

- 1% Asian

- 1% American

- With 1 contact being received from an Australian national


• 7% of those contacting Amen were informed about the organisation by a statutory agency or by an employee of a statutory agency, for example, An Garda Síochána or HSE employees such as social workers, psychologists and nurses.

• As was the case in 2012, the majority of those contacting the service fell within the 40 – 50 year old age bracket. Of those who disclosed their age, a total of 201 individuals were in this bracket.


- 2013 saw an increase in the number of individuals aged between 18-30 contacting the service. 34 individuals in this age range contacted the service.

- 27% or 156 individuals were aged 30-40.

- 132 individuals or 23% were aged between 50 and 60 years old

- 43 individuals (7%) were aged 60 – 70 years old

- 2% which equates to 9 individuals were aged over 70 years old.


• 2048 disclosures of physical abuse were made to Amen in 2013.

• 2859 disclosures of verbal abuse were made to the service during 2013.

• 2846 disclosures of psychological abuse were divulged to Amen.

• Of those who mentioned they had contact with other organisations:

- 27% stated they had spoken about their experiences with a medical professional such as a GP, Public Health Nurse, nurse, etc.

- 37% had contacted a solicitor and had discussed the abuse they have suffered

- 36% had logged at least one incident of domestic abuse with An Garda Síochána

• In 2013, a total of 28 court accompaniment sessions with 22 individuals were conducted.

• During 2013, 741 men disclosed to support staff that there were children in their families.

Source: Amen Support Services Ltd., Annual Report, 2013.