Powerful New Book - SAFE
A domestic abuse campaigner says women & mens lives are being put in danger because gardai are failing to serve protection, safety and barring orders on abusers in time.
In her powerful new book, Safe, Priscilla Grainger reveals she regularly has to call and write to Garda stations on behalf of abuse victims, some of whom are forced to go into hiding until the orders are served on their abusers.
Priscilla says in the book: ‘This is becoming a big problem and something that needs to be addressed before someone is killed.
‘Just today I’ve had to send letters to four separate Garda stations relating to barring orders that were not served on the abuser.
‘In one case the victim, who was very badly beaten up, is now in hiding while two interim barring orders have not been served on her abuser.
‘It has taken a huge amount of courage for her to come to the realisation that her life is in danger and that she needs to get out. She shouldn’t have had to seek a second interim order at all because the first one wasn’t served.
‘I’ve written a letter to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to highlight the matter, but it’s something that needs to be addressed – and now – before we find ourselves dealing with yet another domestic murder.’
In the book, written by journalist Shane Doran, Priscilla details how she eventually escaped her marriage with the help of a private detective and a security firm. Her estranged husband eventually pleaded guilty in court to breaching a safety order and threatening to kill his wife.
In July 2016, Priscilla and her daughter Ainie launched Stop Domestic Violence in Ireland, a unique frontline support group that has helped hundreds of women and men to escape their abusers. And over the past six years the mother and daughter have used their experience and expertise in battling the system to help others take their first steps to freedom.
This year alone, their organisation has received around 2,500 calls for help from victims of domestic abuse.
While supporting legislative reforms on domestic abuse and violence against women initiated by Justice Minister Helen McEntee, Priscilla believes there are still too many ‘cracks in the system’ for victims to fall through.
The advocate and campaigner says: ‘The new laws make sense and we welcome them, but the fact is that existing legislation is not being enforced to the level it should be. Every day we see cases in which victims are not being communicated with properly and gardai not serving orders on abusers. The courts are completely backlogged, and justice delayed is very often justice denied.
There also needs to be a greater drive to tackle the underlying causes of domestic violence, and not just the effects. We need earlier intervention; programmes in our schools, education campaigns, far better awareness of the signs and indications of domestic violence if we are to finally break the cycle of abuse destroying future generations.’