Kilkenny author’s book highlights State’s struggle to combat domestic abuse
A new book by a Kilkenny-based author has detailed the State’s struggle to combat Ireland’s deepening domestic abuse problem.
In Safe, journalist Shane Doran tells the story of one mother and daughter’s long struggle to escape from their abuser before setting up a frontline organisation dedicated to helping others in similar situations.
In July 2016, Priscilla Grainger 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.
Author Shane, who lives in Inistioge, also examines the State’s response to the soaring level of domestic violence cases, including the policing response since the pandemic, the inadequacy of the family courts and Government attempts to tackle the issue through legislative reforms.
Shane says: ‘Since the pandemic the number of reported cases of domestic abuse has gone through the roof. As we’ve seen from the scale and sheer brutality of many violence cases today, society is changing – but the system is not changing with it quickly enough.
‘Unfortunately, it usually takes a major tragedy before the political will is there to do something. It won’t ever be possible to eradicate domestic violence; unfortunately, it’s a very sad fact of life for many, many families.
‘But 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.’
In the book, Priscilla Grainger details how she eventually escaped her marriage after enduring years of financial and emotional abuse, coercive control and violence. 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.
While welcoming recent legislative reforms, Priscilla criticises the failure to enforce current legislation. And she says women’s lives are being put in danger because gardai are failing to serve protection, safety and barring orders on abusers in time.
Priscilla (pictured below with daughter Ainie) 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.’
*SAFE, by Shane Doran, is available to buy for €14,99 at: https://www.safe-thebook.ie