President Michael D. Higgins holds event for MAN UP and HeforShe at Áras an Uachtaráin

“The great importance of HeforShe and MAN UP lies in their recognition that the change we wish for cannot be achieved simply by laws, policies or funding. Social change is necessary as well as a change in consciousness.” Read More…

New Domestic Violence Statistics Show 14 Requests for Accommodation Could Not be Met Every Day

Children Growing Up In Refuge SAFE Ireland tells Politicians

Domestic violence services across the country today revealed that they were unable to meet up to 14 requests every day from women looking for safe accommodation in 2014 – a daily average amounting to nearly 5,000 unmet requests from women over the full year.

This is the highest recording of unmet requests for vital accommodation since statistics were first compiled by SAFE Ireland in 2008. SAFE Ireland is the leading national domestic violence organisation working with 39 frontline members.

Presenting the most recent National Statistics, Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland, said that the figure of 4,831 unmet requests highlights more than any other the abject failure to face up to the reality and consequences of domestic violence and in particular the integral connection between domestic violence and homelessness.

nat-stats-2014-spreads-and-cover
Download the National Domestic Violence Service Statistics 2014 report here (5.4Mb PDF)

The Annual Statistics show that 9,448 women and 3,068 children – over 12,500 people in total – received direct support and/or accommodation from a domestic violence service in Ireland in 2014. Domestic violence services across the country also answered nearly 50,000 helpline support and information calls. In total, 1,658 women and 2,309 children were living in refuge in 2014. Of the children who stayed in refuge for a period of time, 899 were aged under-four, including 217 babies under one, and 422 were aged between 10 and 14.

The statistics were launched at #FaceUpToDomesticViolence – SAFE Ireland’s Election 2016 Rally. It was attended by leading politicians including Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Vice President of Sinn Fein, Labour’s Anne Ferris TD, Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick from Fianna Fail, Eamon Ryan, Green Party Leader and Cllr Eilis Ryan, Workers Party.

“We hear stories about children growing up in hotel rooms. But now we are seeing children growing up in refuges – spending their formative years living in emergency accommodation,” O’Halloran said. “We have to face up to domestic violence as a mark of our humanity and as a measure of a society. Otherwise, we will continue to fail women, fail children, and fail generations.”

O’Halloran explained that the growing gap between rent allowance and rent prices, coupled with the dire lack of suitable housing stock means that most women cannot find homes to move on to live safely. Many are trapped in refuge for long periods of time, which means that there is a knock-on squeeze on emergency accommodation for other women looking for help. Many women are left with little choice but to return to their abusive homes.

“Let’s be clear, no woman was left without help and support by our member services,” O’Halloran said. “They work tirelessly to do everything they can to ensure that women are supported to find safety. But they are doing so against ever-tougher conditions and against mounting systemic barriers. Instead of being able to provide options for safety with women, our member organisations are dictated to by restrictions – by what’s not possible rather than what’s possible.”

SAFE Ireland also launched its Election Manifesto at the Rally. O’Halloran said that the public was way ahead of the political world when it came to its understanding of the seriousness of domestic violence. In a Red C poll carried out for SAFE Ireland in December 2015, nearly 90% of people said that domestic violence is an issue all of society should be concerned with. Over 80% – rising to 87% amongst women – said that domestic violence should be prioritised by Government.

SAFE Ireland is calling for commitment, within the first 100 Days of the next Government, to ensure that three actions become a reality for women and children.

  1. Allocate an additional €30 million annually (from 2017) to address immediate gaps across all struggling services, from Garda to housing, and to ensure prevention work.
  2. Appoint a Minister, Department and Cabinet Sub-Committee to spearhead a whole of Government response to domestic violence.
  3. Enact new legislation on domestic violence and victims rights, with a commitment to look at the definition of domestic violence.

“If the next Government commits to these three powerful actions in the first 100 days, it will be telling women and children that, finally, their government, their country and their fellow citizens are prepared to Face Up to Domestic Violence,” O’Halloran concluded.

#FaceUpToDomesticViolence – The Reality in Numbers

  • 9,448 individual women and 3,028 individual children received support and/or accommodation from a domestic violence service.
  • 48,888 helpline support and information calls were received.
  • 1,658 individual women and 2,309 individual children stayed in refuge,
  • 8,451 women received a wide range of face to face supports including advociacy, emotional and practical support, counselling, court accompaniments etc.
  • 1,158 children received non-accommodation direct support including counselling, play therapy, school placement, afterschool etc.
  • 4,831 requests for refuge could not be met because the refuge was full.
  • 899 children living in refuge for a period of time were aged under-four. 217 were babies under one and 422 were aged between 10 and 14. 123 teenagers were aged between 15 and 18.
  • 89% of Irish people believe that domestic violence is an issue for all of society (Red C poll Dec 2015).
  • 82% – rising to 87% amongst women – said that domestic violence should be prioritised by Government (Red C poll Dec 2015).

#FaceUpToDomestic Violence – Election 2016 Rally – February 16

SAFE Ireland is asking all candidates and political parties in General Election 2016 to Face Up to Domestic Violence and make it a defining issue in the new Programme for Government.

Our agreement is useless without action

Facebook-Twitter_ProfilePicIf there is one issue that all political parties in this Election agree on it is the need to address domestic violence. There have been welcome developments in policy, legislation, awareness and recognition of the complexity of domestic violence.

This work must continue. We can strive to make Ireland the safest place for women and children.

Join the Election Rally at 11am in the Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin.

First 100 Days

  1. We are calling for leadership and commitment, within the first 100 Days of the next Government to ensure that these three crucial actions become a reality for women and children.
  2. Allocate an additional €30 million annually (from 2017) to address immediate gaps in our struggling services, from the Gardaí to specialist domestic violence services to the provision of safe housing. This will also allow for vital education and prevention work, research, and training to help us face down domestic violence.
  3. Appoint a Minister and Department to spearhead a determined, whole of Government response to the complexity of domestic violence, from health to education to justice. We also need the establishment of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Domestic Violence, already promised.
  4. Enact new legislation on domestic violence and victims rights, with a commitment to look at the definition of domestic violence as a matter of urgency. Heads of these Bills were introduced in 2015 but they have not progressed since.

Powerful Message

SAFE Ireland has a comprehensive strategy to transform the response to domestic violence – to make Ireland the safest place for women and children. These three steps are simply the beginning.

If the next Government commits to these three powerful actions in the first 100 days, it will be sending a very powerful message to thousands of women and children in every city town and village in Ireland. A message they have been waiting to hear for years.

It will be telling them that, finally, their government, their country and their fellow citizens are prepared to Face Up to Domestic Violence.

Download our Manifesto

Take action now with our Toolkit

Hozier & Saoirse Ronan Join Forces to Shine Light on Issue of Domestic Violence

New Video for Cherry Wine To Premiere on 14th February – Valentine’s Day

Single Released 12th February on iTunes To Benefit Domestic Abuse Charities Worldwide including the Irish Charity Safe Ireland.

Acclaimed singer / songwriter Hozier is making his song ‘Cherry Wine’ a clarion call to highlight the issue of domestic violence. The Valentine’s Day premiere of his powerful new video will address the issue head on while Hozier, Columbia Records, Island Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing will donate their respective proceeds from downloads of this special single to a series of international domestic abuse charity organisations which provide support to victims and survivors of domestic abuse while also engaging in advocacy and community outreach.

Download the Cherry Wine Single at: http://po.st/CherryWine1

The compelling video stars two time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan in a moving portrayal of a woman dealing with a physically abusive relationship. The clip also stars actor Moe Dunford (Vikings, Game Of Thrones) and is directed by Emmy winning Irish director Dearbhla Walsh.

Cherry Wine was written by Hozier from the male perspective of an abuse sufferer. The song’s lyrics offer a unique insight into an abusive relationship, shining a light on the cycle of ‘justification’ often perpetuated in domestic violence incidents; that public health experts say controls the abused, shames the victim, and shifts responsibility for the abuser’s violent behavior.

Speaking of his decision to lead this charity campaign Hozier said, “Domestic violence is an ongoing issue in our society, the statistics of which are shocking and the effects of which damage whole families, communities and span generations. With the song Cherry Wine, I tried to get across the difficulty of coming to terms with and facing up to domestic violence and the dynamic of an abusive relationship. I’m honoured to be joined by Saoirse Ronan, Dearbhla Walsh and Moe Dunford in spreading awareness on this issue.”

Saoirse Ronan added, “I am equally honoured to join Hozier to create awareness for the #FaceUpToDomesticViolence campaign with the release of “Cherry Wine” as a charity single. The song has always been one of my favourite tracks on his album. I hope through the video and song we can shine light on the issue and complexity of domestic abuse and in doing so help those caught up in the cycle of domestic violence”.

Sharon O’Halloran, the CEO of Safe Ireland, the designated Irish charity in this campaign, expressed her thanks to both Hozier and all involved in highlighting this issue in Ireland.

“In the words of French poet Victor Hugo ‘Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.’ On behalf of all of the women and children that our SAFE Ireland members work with, we say thank you to Hozier and all involved in releasing Cherry Wine. The video featuring Saoirse Ronan captures the complexity of domestic violence and gives us insight into the justifications that can keep people trapped in soul destroying violence. It is only when this is exposed that we can really begin to address the control that is at the heart of abusive relationships. Leadership on this issue, like that expressed by Hozier, can help us all to face up to the daily realities of domestic violence so that together we can make Ireland the safest place in the world for women, men and children.”

Safe Ireland is the national social change agency for domestic abuse in Ireland with a particular focus on male violence against women and children. According to a recent Safe Ireland report into domestic violence:

  • 1 in 4 women experience physical and sexual violence from a male partner = 440,000 women living in Ireland
  • 79% of women in Ireland never disclosed serious Physical or Sexual violence by a partner to anyone = 347,000 women living in Ireland
  • 1 in 3 women experience severe psychological violence from a male partner = 580,000 women living in Ireland

*Source: European Union Agency for fundamental Rights (2014). Violence against women: an EU-wide survey. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.