It is estimated that at least 11,000 women in Ireland suffer from both drug addiction and domestic violence, according to the findings of a new report.
The study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin provided the first-ever estimate of what has been called the “hidden prevalence” of the duality of domestic violence and personal substance abuse.
However, they said the figure of 11,000 was also “a very conservative estimate”.
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He also estimated that at least 48,000 women in the Republic who had used substances in 2020 had encountered such challenges at some point in their lives.
The report was published by the Davina Project, set up by Saol, a women-only addictions support service in Dublin’s north city centre.
The report’s authors said they sought to understand the unique needs of women who experience both substance use and domestic violence.
The study analyzed figures provided by various sources, including the Health Research Board, Central Statistics Office, gardaí and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
It estimated that more than 287,000 Irish women suffered from alcohol or drug abuse in 2020, with the number of women also experiencing domestic violence ranging from 6,169 to 11,058.
“Women who experience violence in the home and who use substances are invisible and their needs unknown,” observes the report.
He added: “They are forced to experience a duality of secrecy for their protection and that of their children.”
The report says its findings provided evidence of the need for “accessible, targeted and specific interventions”.
A review of the international literature on the issue conducted as part of the research found that women who use substances and experience domestic violence also suffer from depression and additional post-traumatic stress disorder.
“They have additional challenges around sexual well-being, infectious disease, and reproductive health,” the report notes.
He said these women fear that domestic violence will also be suffered by their children.
The report adds: “Maternity, pregnancy and loss of child care were also a constant fear and barrier to accessing services.
Researchers from the TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery have observed that An Garda Síochána believe the actual number of incidents of domestic violence to be much higher than those reported to the gardaí.
Among the report’s recommendations were the need for additional, improved and targeted trauma-informed services.
It also recommended continued professional development on the signs and symptoms of domestic violence for front-line health and social service personnel, as well as an increased number of transitional housing units to be allocated specifically to women with children victims of domestic violence. drug addiction and domestic violence.
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