Women’s Aid domestic violence Helpline now accessible in 170 languages

19 Jan 2012

  • New language interpretation service for women experiencing Domestic Violence
  • Information for women on www.womensaid.ie translated into seven languages
  • In 2010 minority ethnic women represented nearly a third (29%) of Women's Aid Support Service users.

Women's Aid are delighted to announce today, 19th January, that the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline is now accessible to women in 170 different languages. The new interpretation service allows women with limited or no English experiencing domestic violence to access free, confidential telephone support.

Speaking about the new service, Deirdre Campbell, Women's Aid Helpline Manager said, "Helpline support workers can now connect with women in Ireland with limited or no English via an accredited and professional interpreter (located outside the country), allowing women to access support and information appropriate to their needs. The service is available throughout the normal opening hours of the helpline 10 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days per week. We believe that through this new service we can reach a whole new audience of women, who are often extremely isolated due to language barriers and unable to receive the help that they so desperately need."

The Women's Aid Helpline answers over 10,000 calls annually. It offers free, confidential information, support and understanding to women who are being physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused by their partners and ex-partners.

The Helpline can refer women to the Dublin-based Women's Aid One to One Support Service, according to the woman's needs. Almost half of callers are outside the Dublin area, and can be provided with relevant local information on agencies that can support them.

The Helpline regularly refers women to the Women's Aid Court Accompaniment Service, local domestic violence refuges and support services, counselling services, legal aid and other agencies, both statutory and voluntary, according to their needs.

In 2010 minority ethnic women represented nearly one third (29%) of Women's Aid Support Service users.

An example of the lifeline that the interpretation service provides comes from an early user of the service: Maria*, who had married an Irish man several months previously and come to Ireland knowing no-one and speaking no English, disclosed experiencing serious abuse. She felt scared for her life and alone. On calling the Women's Aid Helpline, she was connected with a translator and was immediately able to speak with a support worker who understood her situation and had information on appropriate services to support her. After a few calls to our service she went on to access refuge accommodation where she found safety and support.

Women's Aid would like to thank the Women's Fund of Ireland for their support of this initiative.

Research shows that minority ethnic women experiencing domestic violence face additional barriers to seeking help and living lives free of violence. These barriers include the lack of accessible information and support services in different languages.

Therefore, with support from the HSE Social Inclusion Unit, key sections of the Women's Aid website www.womensaid.ie are translated into seven different languages - Arabic, Chinese, French, Polish, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. Leaflets about Women's Aid services and domestic violence are also distributed in the same languages.

The translated information available online includes sections on types of abuse, warning signs of an abusive relationship, information on safety planning and detailed information about Women's Aid services.

Are you working with a woman with limited or no English experiencing Domestic Violence?

The Women's Aid language interpretation service can support your client in a few easy steps:

  1. You or the woman can call the National Freephone Helpline on 1800-341-900.
  2. When a support worker answers the phone, state the language in which the woman wishes to communicate - 170 languages are available
  3. Wait for a moment on hold while the support worker connects to a translator.
  4. The woman may then speak to the helpline worker about her situation in her own language, via the translator on the line.

The Women's Aid Helpline is open from 10am - 10pm, 7 days a week
1800 341 900


For more information contact: Laura Shehan at 01-8684721 or 087-9192457

Notes to the Editor

  • *Specific details and circumstances in Maria's story have been changed in the interest of protecting identity and to preserve the confidential nature of Women's Aid services.
  • Women's Aid is a leading national organisation, which provides support and information to women experiencing domestic violence. Women's Aid operates a National Freephone Helpline Service and a Dublin based One to One Support Service and Court Accompaniment Service. Women's Aid also refers to local refuges and support services around the country.
  • The Women's Aid Helpline responded to 10,055 calls in 2010. There were 430 one to one support visits and 164 court accompaniments. There were 8351 incidents of emotional abuse disclosed and 3031 incidents of physical abuse. 588 incidents of sexual abuse were recorded, which is traditionally not disclosed by women experiencing domestic violence, with 213 rapes within relationships being reported to the service.
  • The Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline is the only free, national, domestic violence helpline with specialised trained staff, full membership of the Helplines Association and with a language interpretation facility covering 170 languages for callers needing interpreting services.