Women's Aid has started a local awareness raising campaign for Dubliners to promote its support services for women who are living with physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse from those closest to them - their husbands or partners. Over the next few weeks the organisation will target key local agencies, community spaces and the general public to highlight the support available to the 1 in 5 women in the Greater Dublin area experiencing domestic violence.
Margaret Martin, Director of Women's Aid, said: "Living with domestic violence is lonely and isolated. Sometimes there is nobody to tell and sometimes women are afraid they will not be believed. But, thousands of women every year find support from Women's Aid. It is vital that information on our services is there in every Health Centre, in every Gardai station, in every public library, in every TD clinic, in every shopping centre as well as on prominent display within the community."
Ms Martin continued: "I hope women will see our Helpline number and call. If it is happening to you, or someone you know, the main thing to realise is that is not unusual, and it happens to very many other women everyday. Support is available and our helpline is for many, quite literally, a lifeline."
Women's Aid will use a number of tactics to promote its campaign. These include: advertising in local papers, placing discreet ads on the back of till receipts, and sending posters, leaflets, cards, pens and promotional calendars to all Gardai Stations, TDs, District and Circuit Courts, Citizen Information Centres, Public Libraries, Health Centres, Law Centres, Community Development Projects, Family Resource Centres in the Greater Dublin area.
Women's Aid runs the National Freephone Helpline (1800 341 900), 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week as well as a Dublin based one to one support service and court accompaniment service. The Helpline responds to almost 12,000 calls each year while the Dublin based services give information and support to, and advocates on behalf of, hundreds of women, on a one to one basis. Women can avail of these services in Dublin city centre, Ballymun, Cabra, Coolock, Swords and Dun Laoghaire as well as other suitable venues.
According to Ms Martin: "We know our statistics are shocking but we believe that it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of women in Ireland suffering in silence and who are alone. It is important that any woman who is being abused feels she can talk to someone, whether that is a family member or a friend, a colleague or a support service like Women's Aid. No one deserves to be beaten and no one has to suffer in silence. We hope that local people will support our efforts and have our information on public display."
The local awareness campaign runs from until the end of September and is funded by COSC, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
For more information contact Christina Sherlock or Laura Shehan on 01-8684721/087-9192457.
Further information and statistics: