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Women
« on: February 24, 2021, 07:32:46 pm »
https://www.thesun.ie/news/6608920/irish-women-streets-avoid-attack-study/

ATTACK FEARS Almost quarter of Irish women avoid certain streets or areas out of fear of being assaulted or harassed, EU study shows

Sean McCarthaigh
23 Feb 2021, 14:57 Updated: 23 Feb 2021, 14:57

ALMOST a quarter of Irish women frequently avoid certain streets or areas out of fear of being assaulted or harassed, according to a major new EU study on crime and safety.

The report by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency shows 23 per cent of Irish women said they deliberately stayed away from particular locations “often or all the time” to reduce the risk of being attacked.

It is the second highest rate among the 27 EU countries after Greece (29 per cent) and significantly ahead of the EU average of 15 per cent.

The measure is even more pronounced among Irish women aged 16-29 years with 45 per cent of that age group taking such avoidance action to lower the risk of being assaulted either physically or verbally.

The FRA report is the first-ever, EU-wide research to compile comparable data on the experience of EU citizens of crime and safety.

It surveyed over 35,000 people across 29 countries in Europe including over 1,000 in the Republic on their attitudes to violence, harassment and property crime including burglary and online fraud.

More than a quarter of Irish women - 27 per cent - said they also frequently avoided places where no one else was around, while 17 per cent said they often avoided being with a person who they felt might attack or harass them. The figures were even higher for younger females.

The results mirror the findings of a recent report on sexual harassment and violence in the Dublin suburb of Clondalkin which identified six locations in the area where women expressed concern for their safety.

DUBLIN SUBURB

The study also found what it claimed was “an alarming high prevalence” of sexual harassment in Clondalkin as well as a high level of fear of other forms of sexual violence.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said they had knowledge or experience of women staying at home or away from particular locations as they were afraid of walking on their own in such areas.

A spokesperson for the North Clondalkin Community Safety Forum, Noreen Byrne, said the findings were unsurprising but the research was welcome to highlight the issue.

She said: “The reality is the situation is not unique to north Clondalkin. It is a much wider issue as sexual harassment goes on in every community.”

The FRA report also revealed that violence and harassment across Europe was much higher than official records.

In Ireland 26 per cent of people said they had suffered some form of harassment in the previous 12 months, while the figure was even higher - 45 per cent - for those aged 16-29 years.

Harassment involved any offensive or threatening comment or gesture including those made via e-mail, text or social media post.

GARDA REPORTING

Over the same period, seven per cent of Irish people said they had experienced some form of physical violence with the rate increasing to 20 per cent for 16-29 year olds.

Only seven per cent of Irish victims of a physical assault identified their assailant as having an ethnic minority or immigrant background compared to the EU average of 24 per cent.

The survey showed Irish people were more reluctant than most of their EU counterparts to report incidents of physical violence to the police.

It revealed that 81 per cent of Irish respondents did not notify the gardaí compared to the EU average of 64 per cent.

More than half - 52 per cent - of all Irish people who reported an incident of physical violence said they were satisfied with how police handled the case – the second highest approval rating in the EU.

Only four per cent of incidents of physical violence in Ireland were reported to be of a sexual nature compared to the EU average of 11 per cent.

TERRORISM FEARS

The survey also revealed that five per cent of people in Ireland have been the victim of online banking or payment fraud in the past year – the third highest rate in the EU.

However, Irish people are the least worried among EU citizens about experiencing a terrorist attack.

Just three per cent of Irish people said they felt very worried about getting caught up in a terrorist incident compared to the EU average of 19 per cent and 52 per cent of Spanish citizens.

FRA director, Michael O’Flaherty, said the results underscored how some people were more vulnerable to crime than others with young people aged 16-29 experiencing both more physical violence and harassment on- and off-line as well as people who do not identify as heterosexual and those with disabilities.

Mr O’Flaherty said the gender differences were also striking with men more likely to experience violence in public settings while women were more at risk in their own home.

He said the survey’s findings can help policymakers assess existing measures and identify protection and assistance gaps.

Mr O’Flaherty also expressed hope that they would “spur much-needed action in this sphere.”

 


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