Women's Aid is launching a public awareness campaign to promote its National Freephone Helpline. The 'Support a Friend' Phone charm Campaign targets the friends and family of women affected by domestic violence. The purple charm, in the shape of a traditional style telephone, signifies the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline. The advice card that accompanies the charm offers practical information on how to support a loved one living with abuse.
Speaking in support of the campaign, Sinéad Desmond, co-anchor of Ireland AM on TV3, said: "Domestic abuse is something we are still afraid to talk about in Ireland. But Women's Aid is changing that. Their helpline offers real support and the chance to leave behind a life of violent abuse to women who feel as if they have nowhere to turn. Thanks to Women's Aid, women who are victims of domestic abuse can become survivors of domestic abuse."
She continued: "Many of us have seen women struggle to escape domestic abuse and for those of you who have not you may not realise it but chances are you already know someone who is a victim of abuse. It might be one of your friends, a family member or a work colleague. So domestic abuse is an issue for all women, not just those living in fear, which is why I wholeheartedly support the Women's Aid 16 Days of Action Campaign."
"It is time for us to talk about what goes on behind closed doors and to put an end to the abuse. No women should ever have to suffer domestic abuse. But there is life after an abusive relationship, and Women's Aid helps women to make that journey. If you or someone you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse phone the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 7 Days a week 10am - 10pm. You can make it all end now, just pick up the phone."
Sarah Benson, Manager of the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline said, "Every day in Ireland women are raped, beaten and abused by those closest to them - their boyfriends, partners and husbands. One in five women in Ireland experience domestic violence. Research shows that, quite often, the first person a woman living with abuse speaks to is to a member of their family or a close friend. But we often hear from callers to the Helpline that they are unsure of the best way to support their loved one living with abuse. We are asking people to store the National Freephone Helpline number in their mobile phones should anyone they know every need it. We also hope that the information we have included on the phone charm advice card will help those supporting a loved one."
Thousands of the phone charms will be distributed free of charge to Gardaí, maternity hospitals, community groups, libraries, local and national elected representatives, citizen information centres, family resource centres and women's support services over the coming days. They will also be available in our two Dublin Wa Wa based charity shops in Aungier Street and Dundrum. The phone charms will be given out in 21 third level institutions as part of a dedicated Union of Students of Ireland (USI) day of action on the last day of the campaign (10th December, International Human Rights Day).
The public awareness campaign is part of the Women's Aid 'Breaking the Silence around Domestic Violence' Campaign launched on 25th November outside Dáil Éireann. This is a part of the International 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence against Women (25th November to 10th December). Groups nationwide are highlighting violence against women during the campaign.
The Women's Aid Helpline is open from 10am - 10pm, 7 days a week 1800 341 900
For more information contact Christina Sherlock at 01-8684721 or 087-9192457.
Notes to Editors\Producers