How the RTE Toy Show Appeal has been assisting Women and Children to Safety

For those living in abusive homes, Christmas is a difficult time of year. Women, and children, are particularly vulnerable to increased risk of emotional, physical and financial abuse. Some remain destitute within their homes, whilst others may become destitute upon leaving. All of them place the welfare of their children at the centre of their decision.

Through the RTE Toy Show Appeal, Safe Ireland reached out to many women and children across the country through its network of local Domestic Violence Services. Viewers donations financed a range of immediate needs as well as longer term supports – all of them critical to assisting women and children to safety. Groceries, toiletries, winter coats, car tyres, phone credit and school supplies, enabled many women to leave and alleviated suffering of those that could not. Rental deposits and basic furniture enabled others to move forward on their journey to safety in a new home. Child therapy supports assisted children suffering from the trauma of domestic abuse. The flexibility of the funding empowered frontline support services to respond quickly, and without restriction, to the specific needs of any particular woman. This is invaluable in circumstances where people need to exit unsafe situations unexpectedly.

I was living in lockdown for years before Covid. Bringing the two kids to school and weekly grocery shopping were my only freedoms. When Covid came, they too ended. The kids were off school, he was working from home, and then he took over doing the weekly shopping. Our home was a prison and our lives were a nightmare. When restrictions lifted we fled to a refuge – no money, no documents, just the summer clothes we were wearing. The local Domestic Violence Service was just fantastic. They sorted the kids with warm clothes, shoes and jammies. They got me a new SIM Card for my phone, provided welfare advise, accompanied me to Court, and arranged counselling for the children. Our journey is only beginning, but the supports we got through the RTE Toy Show Appeal helped us take the first steps. They probably saved our lives.

(Louise 41*)

Safe Ireland is a national development and co-ordination body working to eradicate Domestic Violence (DV). We have four distinct functions: investigating the causes and effects of DV; delivering frontline refuge and support services; developing guidelines for domestic violence best practice; and influencing national strategic policy. This is achieved through a network of 38 affiliate independent frontline DV services; local communities; professionals; public bodies; academic institutions; philanthropists; and corporate partners. The RTE Toy Show Appeal has assisted us in responding to the surge in demand for services since the outbreak of the pandemic. On behalf of the beneficiaries we thank the viewers for their generous support.

* Name has been changed