A huge thank you for your unprecedented response to women and children living with abuse

We are all in this together. It was the line that kept us all going through the crisis lockdown months of Covid-19. We all knew that if we were to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and in our families we had to stay at home, stay away from our friends and loved ones and yet stay connected and together as a nation and as communities in social solidarity.

While most of us could retreat safely into our homes as places of sanctuary and respite from the virus that was out there, for women and children now facing the horrendous prospect of being locked down with an abuser, home was anything but a safe haven.

The Shadow Pandemic

On the Ryan Tubridy Show, our Co-CEO Sharon O’Halloran said that she cried when she heard the news about Covid-19 and the immediate plans for lockdown. She knew from the experience of other countries already under lockdown that there was also a shadow pandemic on the horizon – the pandemic of domestic violence and abuse.

From the first announcement of lockdown on March 12th, Safe Ireland’s work switched immediately to ensuring that the 39 Safe Ireland member services were fully supported to stay open and to do everything they could, often under testing circumstances, and with gross under-resourcing, to protect and help women to stay safe or escape abuse and violence in their homes.

Then, something quite extraordinary began to happen.

While isolation and lockdown was not easy for most of us, we collectively began to see and understand the serious dangers that isolation and containment posed for women and children living with controlling tyrants and abusers.

An Amazing Community Response

At Safe Ireland, we had already opened a Covid-19 Emergency Fund to help provide urgent funding directly to women and children through our member services.

Almost immediately, our fund was boosted by extremely generous donations from the Bank of Ireland, through the ongoing support of the Community Foundation for Ireland, and the Ireland Funds. This was the start of a vital and vibrant community response to the issue of domestic violence that we had really never seen before.

Over subsequent weeks, individuals, theatre companies and artists were holding the most creative and imaginative events to, not just fundraise for Safe Ireland, but to raise awareness about the issue.

Singers like Emma Langford and Glen Hansard dedicated funds from stellar performances to the Safe Ireland Covid-19 Emergency Fund.  Noirin Lynch, wrote and dedicated a song to Safe Ireland. Drew Maitland and David Keogan organised Couch Eile, a pop up live music streaming event. The Fregoli Theatre Company staged a unique, thought-provoking performance with all donations going to the fund. Criti-call, a collaboration of professional, voluntary and community groups, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Iveagh Trust, Scouts, Serve the City, An Garda Síochána and others came together to provide essential supports and materials to our services in Dublin and across many other counties.

We began to get exciting inklings about a collaboration by 40 of Ireland’s top female artists, led by the amazing Ruth Anne Cunningham, with the support of MCD, to perform The Cranberries’ (And Delores O’Riordan’s) Dreams to raise money for Safe Ireland. We all now know the phenomenal success that that amazing performance by Irish Women in Harmony has been – it not just gave us a fantastic rendition of a favourite song, it brought the issue of domestic violence into homes, through radios, laptops, and mobile phones throughout the country and raised over €215,000 to be used directly for women and children. It also spun off the best t-shirts we have ever worn with the Beanantee’s ‘Don’t Mess with Mná’ collection.

We have also had amazing corporate support from companies like Airbnb, Boots Ireland, Total Health, Twitter, Revolut and Tesco. In addition to vital in-kind support, they have all worked with us to ensure that the critical message reaches survivors that professional support is available for them, in their own communities. We look forward to furthering these partnerships as we continue to support women and children in a new post-Covid world.

There are many others who have supported us – not least the thousands of individuals who donated through the Dreams campaign and many others.

We have been humbled by your generosity and emboldened by your solidarity, understanding and empathy with women and children living in unsafe homes.

You have shown that, we are indeed, all in this together.

Thank you.

Irish Women in Harmony release single in aid of Safe Ireland

Safe Ireland is delighted to be supported by Irish Women in Harmony, a collective of over 40 Irish female artists, who have come together to record ‘Dreams’ by the Cranberries.

All funds raised from this beautiful recording will go to the Safe Ireland Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which will be distributed through our 39 member services. It will be used directly to meet the needs of women and children fleeing violence and abuse in their homes.

In order to address the problem of domestic abuse we need a strong community response, and this amazing collaboration is exactly that. A community of talented Irish female artists coming together to send a powerful message to those living with domestic abuse – they are not alone.

You can stream the song on your favourite platform here, add it to your playlists/collections and request it on radio!

The video will premiere at 7pm on Thursday 18th of June and can be viewed here.

You can donate €4 by texting SAFE to 50300 or donate through PayPal here.

For more information on the Safe Ireland Emergency Covid-19 Fund click here.

We would like to thank all of the artists involved in Irish Women in Harmony, particularly Ruth Anne for bringing this collective together and all at MCD Productions for their continued support.

The amazing artists featured on the song:

Ailbhe Reddy, Aimée, Áine Cahill, Allie Sherlock, Caroline Corr, Elaine Mai, Emma Langford, Erica Cody, Eve Belle, Faye O’Rourke, Fia Moon, Imelda May, Laoise, Lilla Vargen, Lisa Hannigan, Loah, Lyra, Melina Malone, Moya Brennan, Niamh Farrell, Orla Gartland, Pillow Queens, Roe, Róisín O, RuthAnne, Saint Sister, Sibéal, Soulé, Stephanie Rainey, Tolü Makay, Una Healy, the trio that constitutes Wyvern Lingo, Aoife Dennedy, Louize Carroll, Lucia McPartlin, Maria O’Connor, Maria Ryan, Sarah Lynch and Theodora Byrne

 

Two Amazing Nights of Music in Aid of Safe Ireland

We are delighted to share news about two amazing nights of music happening this week in aid of Safe Ireland.

As part of the Other Voices Live, Courage series, Glen Hansard will be performing live from the National Library of Ireland at 8 pm on Thursday, 21st of May. 

We are honoured that Glen has chosen Safe Ireland as his nominated charity, with all funds raised going to our Covid-19 Emergency Fund. 

The event will be live-streamed on YoutubeFacebook and RTE.ie

The second event, Couch Eile will take place from 7 pm on Saturday, 23rd of May 

Irish duo Drew Maitland and David Keogan will host a pop-up, global live streaming event, which will host a diverse range of talented musicians from around the world, all performing to raise awareness and funds for three charities Safe Ireland, Médecins sans Frontiéres Ireland (Doctors without Borders) and Men’s Aid 

The event will be live-streamed on Youtube and Facebook 

It has been truly heartening to see the number of creative initiatives and kind offers of support we have received in recent weeks from people who want to do something to help women and children living with domestic abuse during this critical time.

We are incredibly grateful to Glen Hansard, the Other Voices team and all at Couch Eile for their support.  

You can donate directly to our Emergency Covid-19 Fund here. So far, the fund has supported nearly 150 women and 300 children to find safety, providing practical but essential items like food, heating oil, utility bills, transport costs or materials and appliances needed for new accommodation.  We expect that the demand on this fund will rise over the coming weeks as women and children continue to find the space and freedom to reach out for support.

 

 

 

Artists raise money for Safe Ireland Covid-19 Emergency Fund

One of the things that this pandemic has highlighted is that we are all in this together – that the virus can only be suppressed if we work together to stop it from spreading.  Domestic abuse and coercive control is no different. It also needs a strong community response if we are to end it.

We have been blown away by people’s generosity and willingness to help during this crisis. These acts of kindness are sending a strong message to women and children that they are not alone, even at this time of isolation.

We were incredibly grateful to see two wonderful Irish artists, Emma Langford and Noirin Lynch using their talents to raise funds for Safe Ireland.

Noirin Lynch, who works closely with the NCCWN Clare Women’s Network wrote a beautiful song ‘Good People’ about the little things that are making a difference for us during this strange and unprecedented time.

In flatland small things matter.A lovely neighbour creating a garden where there was cement, another arranging candles for #shinealight, a weekly zoom with friends, a 6 yr old nephew with a line in dad jokes that make us all cry laughing …. these things keep our hearts alive. So before lose my nerve I'm gonna share this. Excuse the brutal guitar, I'm out of practise. If you like it you might make a donation to Safe Ireland – Here https://www.safeireland.ie/get-involved/how-to-fundraise-and-donate/, or, – You can donate €4 now by texting SAFE to 50300

Posted by Nóirin Lynch on Monday, April 20, 2020

Emma Langford, a singer/songwriter from Limerick so kindly decided to donate all proceeds from her song ‘Mariana’, a song with a strong message of love and hope to the Safe Ireland Emergency Fund. You can buy the digital track here.

Emma Langford: Mariana (Official Music Video)

The music video for 'Mariana' was created in isolation at the height of the covid-19 lockdown in April 2020, by Sophia Cadogan. It's a celebration of the beauty of the world around us, and the beauty of the world inside us. I hope it gives you hope. The video is being shared today in conjunction with The Haven Hub, in loving memory of its co-founder Lesley-Anne Liddane'Mariana' is available to buy digitally here, with all proceeds going to Safe Ireland: https://emmalangfordmusic.bandcamp.com/track/mariana-2'Sowing Acorns' is available to pre-order on CD here: https://emmalangfordmusic.bandcamp.com/album/sowing-acorns-album-pre-order'Mariana' was produced, directed by, and stars Sophia CadoganProduction assistant: Saoirse Casey "muscles for holding the gimbal": Patrick CaseyColour grading and titles by JP Quill

Posted by Emma Langford on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

 

All donations at this critical time will be distributed through our 38 member services to provide immediate and practical needs to women and children, to re-home them when necessary and to help ensure that they have the vital resources they might need to be safe in their own homes. 

To donate to our Covid-19 Emergency Fund click here.

If you would like to fundraise for Safe Ireland, we would love to hear from you. Please contact info@safeireland.ie

Safe Homes, Safe Communities: National Conference for a Safe Ireland

On the 25th of November 2019, Safe Ireland hosted the Safe Homes, Safe Communities: National Conference for a Safe Ireland in Westport, coinciding with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Help Make Her World Bigger Again – Quick Reference Guide to Coercive Control

Safe Ireland is delighted to publish our ‘Quick Reference Guide to Coercive Control’ which has been designed to help explain what coercive control is, what signs to look out for and also to provide information on the Criminal Offence of Coercive Control.

If you would like copies of our quick reference guide for yourself or to share in your workplace, community, neighbourhood or for a friend or family member we can post some out to you. Please email info@safeireland.ie or phone 0906 479078.

You can also download the guide here

PIE4Shelter

Safe Ireland was a partner in an EU funded project called PIE4shelters which commenced in January 2018 and which ran 2 years.

The project aimed to improve the capacity of homeless services including domestic violence refuges to support women with the experience of homelessness and gender-based violence.

It was co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme of the European Commission. It was implemented by a consortium comprising of homeless and gender-based violence services which included: BMSZKI- Budapest Methodological Centre of Social Policy (Hungary, coordinator), CVFE – Collectif contre les Violences Familiales et l’Exclusion (Belgium), FEANTSA (Belgium/EU), Safe Ireland (Ireland), fio.PSD (Italy) and DePaul (UK).

The main activities and outputs of the project were:

  • Develop a PIE training framework, target group were homeless and domestic violence refuges.

The project developed a training guideline for domestic violence and homeless services, based on a trauma-informed practice tailored approach which can be accessed here.

The PIE4shelters Guide aims at providing practical guidance and materials to improve service provision for women who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness and gender-based violence (GBV). The guide is targeted at homeless services, specialist GBV services and other services that support women who have experienced homelessness and GBV. The four language versions (English, French, Hungarian and Italian) are fully available on the PIE4shelters project website.

  • Train frontline and management staff working with homeless services/domestic violence refuges in the partner countries HU, BE, IE, IT, UK.

In Ireland, Safe Ireland delivered 10 training sessions to frontline domestic violence refuge staff. There were a total of 173 participants that attended across all training sessions. The total number of individual people trained equalled 89 and is inclusive of frontline staff, management, board members, administrative staff, maintenance staff, housekeeping, and volunteers. 

In total 4 different modules were delivered. Module 1 which provided a general introduction to trauma and Trauma-Informed Care and Responses was delivered to all staff including management and some board members.

Module 2 and 3 were delivered to staff and management with a frontline function. The aim of these training modules was to make sense of trauma in the context of domestic violence.

Module 4 was delivered to management and board members and focused on learning about and exploring the organisational implications of becoming a Trauma-Informed Care Organisation.

  • Organize national awareness-raising events on PIE in partner countries, the target group are homeless services.

In order to disseminate the learning from the PIE4Shelter project, we targeted two awareness-raising events. The first was a national conference on Trauma-Informed Care where the audience was mainly comprised of managers and frontline staff in the social services sector including specialist DV and Homeless service providers. Caitriona Gleeson gave a 15-minute presentation on developing Trauma-Informed Environments to respond to women experiences GBV.

We also presented details of the PIE4Shelter project to our members at a national meeting which we held to raise awareness of the project and related issues concerning service provision, homelessness, domestic abuse and trauma. This event was held in the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone on Tuesday the 10th December. There was facilitated dialogue led by the PIE4Shelter Coordinator and Safe Ireland CEO Sharon O’Halloran. Information about the PIE4Shelter programme and the emerging issues were discussed with the participants.

 

 

Safe Homes Safe Communities – A National Conference for a Safe Ireland

Safe Ireland invites you to join us at our National Conference for a Safe Ireland, which will be taking place on the 25th of November 2019 in Westport, coinciding with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The underpinning theme of our conference is prevention and what we need to understand, learn and do if we are to create communities that are safe and free from violence.

Our morning session will look at the scale of the problem with thought-provoking and radical presentations on coercive control, its human impact and its shocking cost. We will then examine what is at the root of coercive control with a presentation of brand new research on Irish attitudes towards gender equality, roles and responsibilities, commissioned by Safe Ireland.

In the afternoon, we will look at what has to happen to develop a national prevention strategy, across areas like policing, health, community and education. Then, we will launch a new and exciting Safe Ireland strategy to make County Mayo a pilot site for real and measured change in the way we prevent and respond effectively to violence and abuse in our homes and in our communities. We believe that this strategy paves the way for a revolution in the safety of women and children in Ireland.

This National Conference for a Safe Ireland will bring together national and international experts, leaders and trailblazers, practitioners, policymakers, academics, funders and other stakeholders in the field of domestic violence reduction. It offers a unique opportunity for learning, creating change, collaboration, engagement, and being at the heart of the movement to end domestic violence.

Confirmed speakers include:

Lynn Rosenthal – the first White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

Ryan Hart – Coercive Control Survivor and Activist

Davina James Hanman – Leading UK Coercive Control Expert

Detective Supt. Gordon McCreadie – Police Scotland’s National lead for Domestic Abuse, Forced Marriage, HBA and Stalking & Harassment

The full programme can be viewed here. 

A certificate of attendance will be given towards CPD for any attendee who needs same.

For further details and to book tickets click here.

Women are still deterred from reporting violence

Tens of millions of people across the globe have been following the unfolding story of the allegations of sexual assault against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Two women, Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, it is reported, are set to testify on Thursday before the US Senate Judiciary Committee to address their allegations, and to be given, what we hope will be, a fair hearing.

This whole case is unsettling. Not just because of the sordid details of humiliation, hurt, long-held trauma and inequality that underpin the stories that the women have told, but because the dominant establishment response to both the accusations and the accusers is to immediately dismiss, minimise, scathe and undermine.

It is incredible, it would seem, that a man of such high reputation, who is a Supreme Court nominee, could possibly engage in such predatory, debasing behaviour. One year after the re-emergence of the #MeToo movement, what this high-profile case is telling us loud and clear is that the default response of dominant power structures like politics is still a resounding “believe the man”.

It is perhaps the inevitability of this response that is most unsettling. It highlights a statement made by an Irish woman interviewed for a soon-to-be-published piece of research carried out by Safe Ireland estimating the cost of domestic violence. She said, in a very matter-of-fact way, that, “Women suffer from the man; then they suffer from the system.”

This statement is searing in its truth and simplicity. It is what Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez are experiencing now in a very public forum. But it is also what survivors of gender-based violence here in Ireland are experiencing every day, silently, away from the glare of notoriety.

All you hear all along is you will get your day in court. No you don’t. You get five minutes to be abused further. It’s nothing else

In 2014, research by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) said that one in three Irish women reported some type of psychological violence by a partner since the age of 15. One in four reported some form of physical and sexual violence by a partner or non-partner since the age of 15. This same research said that a massive 79 per cent of Irish women never reported a serious physical or sexual assault by a partner to the police.

For the full article click here.

 

The real danger to women is within their own home

Just this month, a man in Mayo killed his wife and attempted to kill his son.

The reports of Kitty Fitzgerald’s violent death in her home focussed on the assurance that, “…no third party was involved in the horrific deaths of an elderly couple and the serious assault on their son.” It was important that the community knew that there was no outside involvement, because that was what we wanted them to focus their concern on.

A couple of months ago, in Cavan, a man killed his wife and his three children. Our newspapers were full of our questions: “Why did he do it?”; “How could he kill those poor boys?” We heard what an honourable man the murderer was: “a valuable member of the community”.

Days passed and our reports were so focused on Alan Hawe and the children he killed, that it wasn’t until Linnea Dunne wrote Rest in Peace, Invisible Woman – an article that was republished internationally and created #HerNameWasClodagh – that we talked or thought about Clodagh.

Only a year ago, Siobhan Phillips and Garda Tony Golden were shot by her partner when they returned to her house to pack her bag so she could leave his violence. Siobhan almost died. Tony Golden did die and on the day of his funeral, Tony was described as being killed while doing “a bread and butter type call” – the type of calls that police members attend to every day, every Sunday.

In Ireland we haven’t quite figured out how to talk about the fact that not everyone is born into, or marries into a loving, safe home. We haven’t figured out how to talk with outrage about the “bread and butter” violence inflicted on women everyday in their homes. And most of all, we haven’t figured out how to be outraged at our own apathy and blithe acceptance of that violence – the fact that it continues to be called a “domestic”.

We don’t talk about problems in the home

We have side-stepped, dodged and ducked taking on the last institution in Irish society. The home. Until we do, we will not take on domestic violence. We will continue to focus on the fabrication of danger to women from outside the home rather than accepting that the real danger is from within.

Of the recent solved murders of Irish women, more than half of the women were murdered by their husband, partner or ex-partner. So in reality, the Mayo community should not have been reassured that no third party was involved in Kitty Fitzgerald’s death a few weeks ago. They have a much more real need to be reassured about the threats inside their homes and relationships.

Domestic violence is a crime. And domestic violence is everyone’s business. Domestic violence kills our women and children. It is a practice supported and re-enacted through cultural narratives, by the State and by us through our media and our communities. Our cultural narrative – don’t speak ill of the dead – trumps the deaths of these women, who we then bury with their killers and laud them from our altars as saints.

We need to listen to women

But if the walls could speak, would we listen to these women? And could we re-tell those truths in another way. What Linnea Dunne described as the patriarchal narrative ran through the entire Cavan story, “from the act itself, to the reporting of it…” She said, “…we need to allow ourselves to see it, if we are to find a way to prevent similar events from happening again.”

I have the privilege of listening to those walls when they speak. In my work with SAFE Ireland and the domestic violence services across our country that we collaborate with, we take these truths and look at the unassailable facts in them so that we can help women find safety and move towards eradicating domestic violence.

We have to find a new way of talking about the home and of replacing the old narratives that maintain domestic violence. In our recent past we addressed our shame and we engaged in a process of truth and reconciliation with those women and babies buried in unmarked graves after years of suffering and abuse in Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes.

There was a time when our culture condoned this gender apartheid, this denial of children’s rights as human rights. We now know it as abhorrent to all that is good in Irish people. And I think that when we engaged in this process, when we dared to look at the worst of ourselves, we found the best in ourselves.

We have to do the same with domestic violence. We have to break down the institution of the home in the same way we broke down the institutions that jailed mothers and babies. And most of all we have to change the way we talk about it. We have to listen to the home truths. And then we have to act on what we hear.