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  • Southside

Women’s Aid sees ‘phenomenal’ demand for 24-hour services

Friday, 16th September, 2016 2:00pm
Women’s Aid sees ‘phenomenal’ demand for 24-hour services

Women’s Aid is now getting 41 calls a day. PIC POSED

Women’s Aid sees ‘phenomenal’ demand for 24-hour services

Women’s Aid is now getting 41 calls a day. PIC POSED

A SHOCKING 41 calls have been made to Women’s Aid every day this year.

As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone officially launched the Women’s Aid 24-hour National Freephone Helpline last week it was revealed how an additional 1,957 calls were recorded during the new night-time service since it went live in January of this year.

Last week Women’s Aid, the national domestic service support organisation, also launched its redesigned website and started the new ‘The Violence Doesn’t Stop. We Won’t Stop’ public awareness campaign.

It will also state its intention to extend the availability of its specialist support service to women seeking support online. 

Speaking ahead of the event, Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid, said that the demand on the new ‘out of hours’ night service had been “phenomenal”.

“In the first six months since going 24/7, we have answered 1,957 calls in our ‘out of hours’ night service,” Ms Martin said. “Think of all those voices, desperate for help in the middle of the night and the early morning. Women who needed someone to answer the phone to them. Someone to listen, believe and support.  We know there will be many more. Our resources were over-stretched before we suffered funding cuts. However, we are determined to keep going, to keep answering the phone day and night.”

Women’s Aid estimates that becoming a 24/7 service will cost around €75,000 this year and has called on the Government to fully support its vital work.

“Providing a 24/7 National Domestic Violence Helpline not only meets a demand that we know is there but Ireland has an obligation to provide 24-hour specialist support to victims of domestic violence under the EU Victims Directive,” Ms Martin added.

As a part of its improved 24hr National Freephone Helpline service, Women’s Aid has redesigned its website (www.WomensAid.ie) as a first point of contact for women who need support. Through the site, all women are encouraged to call the 24hr helpline regardless of how serious they might think their situation is.

“The newly redesigned helpline website offers immediate information on how to ring our helpline in addition to useful information on identifying abusive behaviour and personal stories from women who have rebuilt their lives with the support of Women’s Aid. 

“The website is visited on average 460 times a day and we know that it is for many women, a lifeline, online.”

The Women’s Aid Helpline and website provide lifelines for women living in fear of their partners and both saw a spike in contacts in the wake of the recent murder-suicide tragedy in Cavan.

“Domestic violence kills women and it kills children too,” Ms Martin added.

“In the wake of the murder of Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan Hawe by their husband and father, Alan, we’ve experienced a spike in helpline calls and 30 per cent more contacts with our website.”

 Minister Zappone said: “We understand how difficult it is for women experiencing domestic abuse to talk about what is happening. Many women are afraid that they will not be believed or that they will blamed for the abuse. All too often, women feel alone and isolated, unaware that help is available or unable to make sense of what is being done to them.  Our campaign speaks directly to women in the hope they will call us.”

Women’s Aid has appealed for donations. Go to www.womensaid.ie/donate or send donations direct to Women’s Aid, 5 Wilton Place, Dublin 2. 

You can also text ACTION to 50300 to donate €4.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here