Budget 2022 Fails to Prioritise Domestic Violence

Safe Ireland has expressed great disappointment at the failure of government to invest in critical domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) response measures in Budget 2022.

Speaking in reaction to the Expenditure Allocation document published on Wednesday, CEO Mary McDermott stated that

“It is beyond disappointing, indeed offensive, that despite national prioritisation, and huge efforts by so many to heighten both public and political awareness of the scale of violence against women, and against children; despite evidence of the cost to survivors, their families, communities and the State, that government has again failed to commit to a coherent response in this budget cycle.”

It is notable from the budget document that there is a refusal to clearly address and prioritise domestic violence as a national social problem, and no progress has been made towards integrated funding. Finance for frontline DSGBV services remains an under-resourced subset within a Tusla Children and Family Support Programme budget, a separate state agency under the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

“Whilst Tusla has been given an increase in its global allocation for 2022, there is no specified allocation for DSGBV. This means domestic violence services and rape crisis centres will now have to compete against each other for resources, and against Tusla’s other priorities, including its own corporate development.”

 

The Budget 2022 document commits only to “maintaining” an unspecified budget for DSGBV services within Tusla, with no commitment for additional resources to respond to the 19 new women and 3 new children contacting a local service every day over the past 12 months. Whilst acknowledging the role of Tusla as a respondent for child victims of DSGBV, it is reprehensible that adult women victims of violence are relegated to that of a subset within “child and family” support services, with no dedicated funding line in their own right.

Equally deficient in the budget document is the absence of any commitment for emergency, transitional, or long-term accommodation and housing for women fleeing violence. Safe Ireland has costed and called for commitments to increase refuge capacity, implement a Safe-at-Home Sanctuary Scheme, and make provision for transitional housing, yet none of these urgent necessities were included in the governments housing capital programmes. It is also disconcerting to note that despite the acknowledged need for Rent Supplement to be made a permanent offering for victims of DV, no clear commitment in this regard was included in the budget statement.

Safe Ireland welcomes the Dept of Justice commitment to advancing its preventative work in awareness-raising and training, and its intent to invest more in Garda resources, including the investigation of DSGBV crime. Nevertheless, given the structural failure of the cancelled 999 calls, it is unclear whether or not this increase in funding will manifest as additionality or simply supplement evident inefficiencies in existing policing levels.

In conclusion, McDermott stated that “2020 marked a moment in history when Irish society collectively identified and prioritised domestic violence as a large-scale social problem. In 2021 we have been shocked by increasing incidents of femicide, familicide and infanticide in Ireland. 2022 will see the commencement of Ireland’s Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual, and Gender-Based Violence. This is the first strategy developed since Ireland ratified the Istanbul Convention Treaty. It coincides with heightened public awareness of the need for coherent response and increasing outrage at wide-spread violence against women and girls. Sadly this budget indicates that our public policy makers and political leaders remain resistant to substantive response and systemic change. Our national journey on domestic violence since the outbreak of Covid19 has generated wide-scale community support and mobilised generous public responses to the issue; therefore women, children, and society at large deserved a better response from Government in Budget 2022.”

Safe Ireland – Cancelled 999 Domestic Violence calls expose dangerous practice, out-dated technologies and unreliable data

Safe Ireland, working with 39 frontline domestic violence services, said that while it welcomed reports today that the cancellation of domestic violence 999 calls had fallen by two-thirds following the introduction of tighter controls on how calls were processed in late 2020, flaws of such a serious nature were not reducible to technologies.

Further details on local and individual practice, on information flow and on data implications are necessary.

Mary McDermott, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that these events contrast sharply with the positive on-the-ground effects of Operation Faoiseamh which explicitly supported local gardaí to prioritise domestic violence.

“This is clearly not a matter of policy but practice and technical infrastructure. More seriously, it also appears to expose remnant dismissive attitudes in our police service to coercive control and abuse in the home as merely a private matter rather than a crime. All gardaí need depth training on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence”

Furthermore, accurate recording of data directly effects how dv is understood. If calls were cancelled, repeating and patterned calls from survivors, which evidence coercive control, may not be recognised or escalated appropriately.

“We know that what happened with these calls is not Garda policy,” she said. “We have welcomed and actively supported Operation Faoiseamh, which prioritised the response to domestic violence survivors from the start of Covid-19. Our service members across the country have spoken about the importance of proactive Garda response to domestic violence and the developments that the force has made over recent years particularly. These call cancellations directly undermine this work.”

 

“However, we have also consistently reported identifiable and persistent regional pockets of bad practice, particularly amongst rank-and-file gardaí, where there would seem to be a continued lack of professional understanding of the nature, complexity or impact of coercive control and trauma.”

McDermott said that the cancellation of crisis calls are clear evidence of poor practice and show the need for immediate and substantive training on coercive control for all members of the police service, at all levels, but particularly for those in the call centres as the first point of contact for many survivors.

She also said that the cancellation of DV 999 calls further undermines Garda data on the crime of coercive control. Immediate and thorough-going review of these processes is necessary.

#HaveYourSay on the next DSGBV strategy

Department of Justice with Safe Ireland and NWCI launches a public consultation process to help develop a new national strategy.

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/TNS

Department of Justice (@DeptJusticeIRL) Tweeted:

🚨 📢 We along with partners  @SAFEIreland & @NWCI have launched a public #consultation process to help develop a new national strategy to combat Domestic, Sexual & Gender-based Violence

#HaveYourSay here below
👉 https://t.co/pM9XLwquSc
@1Hildegarde https://t.co/JnigCCsUej

https://twitter.com/DeptJusticeIRL/status/1399274510604550151?s=20

Airbnb extends partnership to provide free accommodation to domestic violence survivors

Airbnb has extended its partnership with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to provide free emergency accommodation for domestic violence survivors across Ireland. The decision comes as Ireland prepares to lift lockdown restrictions and emergency refuge services operate with reduced capacity and an increase in demand.

The initial partnership launched in June 2020 as Ireland prepared to reopen from the first lockdown and has provided 2,000 nights of emergency accommodation to date.

Domestic violence services have continued to see high numbers through 2021 with many survivors presenting with highly complex needs and heightened trauma from months of living with their abusers in extended lockdown.

The need to ensure safe social distancing in specialist domestic violence accommodation services has reduced capacity by 25% and there is concern that demand may increase further over the summer months. Last year July and August were the busiest months as women are often more reticent to leave homes whilst children are in school.

Safe Ireland’s ‘Tracking the Shadow Pandemic’ reports carried out through 2020 show that on average, 180 women and 275 children looked for emergency accommodation every month between March and December. But in that same time, 2,159 requests for refuge could not be met by services, indicating the importance of having other accommodation choices available.

Mary McDermott, CEO of Safe Ireland said,

“Domestic violence is the leading cause of family homelessness. The availability of safe, affordable and stable housing is fundamental not only to a woman’s ability to escape an abusive partner, but also to remain safe and independent. This partnership with Airbnb has provided a crisis-time option for some women to escape violence and we are delighted that it is continuing. The accommodation provided is designed to be temporary but it provides critical respite for services and women to make longer term plans.”

 Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid said,

“Women’s Aid is delighted to know that this vital support to women and children is being extended by Airbnb. The need and demand for creative responses to the needs of those subjected to domestic abuse is only increasing. Our 24hr National Freephone Helpline, which responded to 38% more calls between March and December 2020, acts as a direct referral point to a wide range of local and regional services and supports for women subjected to abuse all over Ireland, and we will continue to signpost callers in need of accommodation to all of the domestic violence services participating in this partnership.”

Airbnb will continue to work through its hotel partners to provide temporary accommodation, free of charge, when specialist emergency accommodation is not available. Domestic violence services throughout the country will assess the safety needs of survivors before arranging bookings into the temporary hotel accommodation.

All those accommodated as part of this initiative will continue to be closely supported by domestic violence specialists. Safe Ireland will coordinate the initiative with its frontline services and support from the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline. All accommodation costs are sourced and paid for by Airbnb.

Jean Hoey, Public Policy Lead for Airbnb in Ireland, said,

“We have much to look forward to as lockdown restrictions ease and a return to a sense of normality seems possible again. For those facing domestic abuse however, freedom will always seem out of reach. It’s a privilege for us to be able to support the vital work of Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to ensure that anyone seeking help can be offered a safe space from where they can hopefully take the first steps towards rebuilding their lives.”

Safe Ireland recognises mothers living with coercion – past and present – with creative campaign this Mothers’ Day

Woman and Child – The most far reaching, creative and inspiring campaign we’ve ever run!

2,275,513 impressions. In just two weeks.

That’s the reach achieved by with our amazing and powerful 1 minute film Woman and Child, made by film maker Marion Bergin, and which was at the heart of our Nollaig na mBan campaign, launched on January 6th 2021.

So impressions are one thing – they give us an idea about how many times a post about our campaign appeared in somebody’s feed. But, engagement is something completely different. In total, there were over 200,000 video views across its different cutdown formats – 1 minute, 30 seconds and 10 seconds. And of those views, there was a massive 133,870 video completions.

One of our core aims for this campaign was to raise awareness about coercive control. The film, in just 60 seconds, and less, depicting the shrinking and micro-managed world of a woman and child living with control and abuse. We hope that at least 133,870 more people now know a little more about this insidious crime.

But the film was just one half of the campaign. Its darkness was complemented with a truly standout Herstory lightshow featuring images that incapsulated the sovereignty, strength, resilience, diversity and autonomy of women. Every day for two weeks, these amazing images were shared, liked, re-tweeted thousands of times, helping to spread the reach of the campaign even further.

On January 6th itself, in freezing temperatures, a small little band of socially distanced women and men met in O’Connell Street to light up the GPO first. We then moved on to Christchurch Cathedral where the Archbishop and Dean came out to meet us. After that it was down to the former Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street before heading out to Clontarf to illuminate a domestic house. It was perhaps the illumination on the ordinary house that was most haunting and evocative. It was a reminder that control, abuse and inequality happens in our midst, on our roads, in our villages and neighbourhoods. Until it is exposed here – illuminated here – it will continue to thrive, in the shadows, in the silence. But, hopefully with this campaign, we have raised consciousness about this.

We are extremely grateful to all of the amazing artists and creatives who worked with us to make this campaign such a success – the Herstory movement, Marion Bergin and Lisa Turnbull of The Nice Things, photographers and artists Ellen McDermott, Myriam Riand and Áine O’Brien, Dodeca for the illuminations and Adrian O’Connell for his videography.

See the full campaign page here

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