"A house where a woman feels unsafe is not a home"
BREAK THE SILENCE
The Domestic Violence Acts 1996–2002 (the ‘Domestic Violence Acts’) provide civil remedies for victims of domestic violence.
An Garda Síochána run the Victim Services Offices and Protective Service Bureau. Extra funding is assigned to victim support services by the Victims of Crime Office, also run by a Commission that declares in its mission that:
"Certain groups of victims are at particular risk of repeat and secondary victimisation, intimidation and retaliation including victims of trafficking, victims of hate crimes, children, and victims of domestic violence who do not today have sufficient access to shelters. The Commission reports that there were 4831 unmet request for emergency accommodation for victims in 2016, and points to the need to ensure investment in supports.”
I think what matters most is to attempt to demonstrate the hardship a victim of domestic violence may experience. Emotionally and in terms of safety there is a real fear of leaving a person who uses violence. There is a real chance that you might not be treated seriously by the police at the outset. Consequently, the problem is often overlooked, excused or denied. A house where a woman feels unsafe is not a home... many women however, stay in an abusive relationship because of fear of breaking up a family or loosing other well established networks. Providing evidence of domestic abuse to the police where there are no eye witnesses in a private setting is in many circumstances impossible in terms of the type of violence that occurs.
Using images of the female body, a hand print on the skin, I wanted to represent the different signs of domestic abuse should we be able to see those signs: like a stage in the bruising around a wound, for instance, blood that is oxidised, or a bruise colour before the healing stage. As part of my research I read The Right of Protection of the Family, Mothers and Children (Article 10), which includes this statement:
“While some civil remedies exist for victims of domestic violence, there continues to be no specific criminal code dealing with the crime of domestic violence and no statutory definition of domestic violence in the Irish legal framework.”
This gave me a real and stark idea of what the current situation is and how limited the support of the victims is.
The Right to Protection of the Family, Mothers and Children (Article 10) is contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights referenced in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Report. This presents us specifically with the topic of protection against domestic and gender-based violence, where it is clearly evident that while some civil treatments exist for victims of domestic violence, there seems to be no specific criminal code dealing with the crime of domestic violence on statutory definition of domestic violence in the Irish legal framework. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission argues that regardless of the rise of domestic violence in Ireland, the Garda Inspectorate Report has established that crimes of domestic violence are falsely documented, and do get recorded as non-crimes. Also, despite a large number of calls to domestic incidents, only a small amount of arrests have been registered. Due to the economic recession in the last decade, there has been a decrease in the funding for support services of domestic violence and lack of provision for safe spaces despite the rise in demand. The IHREC recommends that the State prioritise the consolidation and reform of domestic violence legislation. An update of the National Strategy for Tackling Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based violence is overdue. Suitable campaign supports are also necessary for advocacy, to urgently increase number of places in women's refuges for women and children persecuted through domestic violence.
I would like to thank my sister for helping in the realisation of this project by being the subject photographed.
Mentel, M. (2017) Break the silence, Available at: (Accessed:___).