Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working with 38 member domestic services across the county, welcomed the timely, new Government awareness and information campaign on domestic violence, which was announced today, Friday April 10th.
Sharon O’Halloran, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, said that the campaign comes at a critical time for women and children who may be confined and isolated with their abuser. It is understood that TV and radio ads will broadcast next week.
Safe Ireland has been one of the specialist frontline partners involved in the initiative, which she said was creative and strong in its message to survivors and communities that professional frontline supports are open and operating.
She said, from regular zoom meetings with all members over the past few weeks, that there was clear evidence that abusers were using Covid-19 as a weapon of control. While some services are reporting that they are very busy, many others are also noticing that helplines are quieter than they would expect.
“The silence is ominous,” O’Halloran said. “Our greatest concern, four weeks into this pandemic, is that women are finding it much more difficult to make contact for support. Previously women may have contacted services when they or their partners were at work or out of the house, or when children were in school. Those little windows of freedom are being cut down.”
She said that in these stressful circumstances that it was more important than ever that there was a strong community response to domestic violence.
“During Covid-19 we are being reminded that we are all in this together. The response to domestic violence can be no different. We are asking people to be vigilant, to keep in touch with friends and family, to be aware that homes may not be safe and to be her voice in looking for support at a time when she may not be able to use her voice.”
She also stressed that a strong awareness campaign must matched with solid and reliable State funding so that services can be resourced to continue to re-home women or keep them safe in their homes. Safe Ireland has made a case to Government on behalf of its member services for €1.6 million to enable the sector to manage this crisis adequately.
For more information contact:
Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207