National domestic violence agency keeping an update on services available for women and children in absence of government directive

Safe Ireland is concerned that the needs of vulnerable women and children in refuge or now confined in their homes are not being considered adequately in the national response.

Safe Ireland today said that it is working closely with its domestic violence service members around the country to ensure that women and children are kept fully informed about the services and refuges that are available to them throughout this time of national emergency.

Safe Ireland will be keeping a rolling update on services on its website safeireland.ie.  Women are also urged to ring the National 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 and local 24-hour helplines if they need immediate support. 

The national social change agency working to end domestic violence said that it was concerned that domestic violence was, to date, “structurally invisible” in the national response to coronavirus. Safe Ireland said that it is ready to work with all relevant state departments to work on creative and appropriate solutions for women who need to leave their homes in these unprecedented times.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager, said that while people have been advised to work and stay at home, it was important to be cognisant that home is often the least safe place for women and children living with domestic violence.  The pressures of confinement and isolation could also exacerbate the risk of coercive control and domestic abuse.

“We are concerned that the needs of women and children living with domestic abuse have been overlooked to date in the government’s response to Covid-19,” she said. “This is a very vulnerable group for whom home is often the least safe place to be confined to or isolated within. Yet, they have not been considered, it would seem.”

“We know from our data that on any one day, our services are working with up to 800 women and children,” she continued. “It is vital that women know that these vital frontline services continue to be available to them through this extraordinary time. Some services may have to curtail activity and we are working with our members on a daily basis to support continuity.  We will be doing everything we can to support women and to ensure women know what services are available and how they can access them.”

For more information contact: Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207