Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Thursday) said the storyline being carried on popular Irish soap opera, Fair City, which centres around domestic violence in the Bishop family home, while difficult to watch, sends a message to those suffering abuse at the hands of a partner that help is at hand and that any abuse should be reported.
“Fair City has a long history of tackling the issue of domestic violence and abuse. Not only does it deal with the abuse of women but it has also, in the past, tackled the issue of husbands falling victim to abuse at the hands of their wives.
“The storyline which centres on domestic abuse in the Bishop household and depicts a husband beating his wife and daughter will, sadly, strike a chord in many households across the country. SAFE Ireland has said that domestic abuse is the most under-reported, undocumented and unprosecuted crime in the country, with the result that too many women are enduring horrific beatings, many on a regular basis, at the hands of husbands or boyfriends.
“While the support systems that are currently in place in Ireland to assist those who are in need of shelter are far from adequate, a number of reforms are underway to deal with family law cases and the administration of justice. The in-camera rule is being overhauled to allow for greater transparency of family law cases and a referendum is being planned to provide a unified system of Family Courts later next year.
“Services such as the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline (1800 341 900) are in place to provide support for those in need and it is vital that we encourage our sisters, mother, aunts and girlfriends who are suffering abuse to come forward and to seek help in a bid to turning their lives around.
“It is estimated that one in five women in Ireland will experience violence and abuse from an intimate partner at some stage in her life, so this is not an issue that is affecting just a small number. Women can fall victim to domestic violence, which may first manifest in subtle forms of intimidation and control, irrespective of class, race or religion. It is up to all of us to get the message out that striking a partner is never ok. I applaud shows such as Fair City for playing its part and addressing this difficult issue, especially for the men and women at the centre of abuse.”