Violence against women: serious questions need to be addressed

The brutal murder of Offaly schoolteacher Aishling Murphy has devastated a family and sent shock waves through the local community and beyond.

It also raises serious questions about, and brings into sharp focus, the levels and nature of violence against women on this island

In the past year seven women were murdered in the Republic of Ireland. During the same period in Northern Ireland nine women were killed.

The patterns are horrifyingly similar. Over 60% of the victims were murdered in their own home. Well over half were killed by a current or former partner.

Updated, strengthened and robust legislation to protect women from violence and the threat of violence is urgently need in both jurisdictions

However, legislation alone, vital as it is, will not be enough to overcome a culture which sees women and girls as objects and commodities and tolerates misogyny and prejudicial gender-based attitudes.