#Day8 of #16Days leads us to Ireland, where the population is no stranger to violence, starvation and hardship. After centuries of fighting between the Catholics in Ireland and the Protestants in Northern Ireland, finally an uneasy peace has persisted since 1998. Unfortunately for the women of Ireland that peace has not spread to their homes, with one-fifth of women in Ireland suffering from physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. The Irish Immigrant Support Center explains that immigrants experiencing domestic violence are likely to be approved for their own independent legal residence, and has created a guide for immigrants while pushing the Irish legal system to make significant adjustments in how DV is handled in the courts. In September this shocking article disclosed that some women in Ireland are waiting four months to get a protective order against their abuser.
Women’s Aid “a leading national organisation that has been working in Ireland to stop domestic violence against women and children since 1974” operates the country’s National Freephone Helpline from 10am-10pm everyday (except Christmas) at 1800 341 900. “The Helpline is available free of charge to everyone in the Republic of Ireland. The Helpline is for:
- Women who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic violence.
- Friends and family seeking to support women and children who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic violence.
- Professionals supporting women and children who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic violence.”
As this research shows children in Ireland are also severely impacted by domestic violence. One in Four is an organization dedicated to helping survivors of sexual violence, especially those who were victimized as children, heal. Safe Ireland is another organization working to make Ireland safe for women and children. It is an umbrella organization with a network of 40 domestic violence services throughout the country, 21 of which offer 24/7 emergency shelter. They also offer court accompaniment, outreach and advocacy. “Domestic Violence Support Services have a wide range of skills and experience to respond to a range of women and children’s needs. These include
Safety Related Needs
- Supporting women with ways to protect them and their children from their partner/ex partner
- Safety Planning for women and their children
- Support with managing contact with a partner/ex-partner
Child Related Needs
Information and support for women with:
- Schooling for her children
- Custody and access for her children
- Child welfare and protection issues for her children
- Getting emotional support for her children
- Health care for her children
- Play/recreation activities for her children
- Understanding the impact of domestic violence on her children
Information and Support with:
- Legal Protection
- Jobs and Work
- Training and Education
- Health Care
- Benefits and Finances
- Housing and Accommodation
- Understanding the impact of domestic violence on her
- Healing emotionally from her experiences
- Understanding the causes of domestic violence
- Making decisions about her life
Men in Ireland suffer from domestic violence as well, as do men in all countries. The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence estimates that 6% of Irish men suffer from severe physical abuse and 88,000 men in Ireland have been abused at some point in their lives. Amen is an organization dedicated to helping male survivors of abuse; they operate a Helpline available Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm at 046 9023718 and offer counseling, support groups and court accompaniment. An organization which tackles the other way in which men are involved in domestic violence MOVE Ireland, Men Overcoming Violence, “is a structured group work programme for men who are or have been violent in an intimate relationship. The programmes are designed to help the participants take responsibility for their violence and to choose to behave differently in the future.”
Folks needing legal advice can get the basics for free from Free Legal Advice Centres at their walk-in clinics or by calling 1890 350 250 Monday to Thursday from 9am-5:30pm and Friday from 9am-5pm. Similarly the Crime Victims Helpline offers free support by phone at 116 006 and via text at 085 133 7711. They operate Monday – 10am-7:30pm, Tuesday to Friday – 10am-5pm and Saturday and Bank Holidays – 2-4pm.
Finally the Rape Crisis Network Ireland “is a specialist information and resource centre on rape and all forms of sexual violence with a proven capacity in strategic leadership. We are the representative, umbrella body for our member Rape Crisis Centres who provide free advice, counselling and support for survivors of sexual abuse.” They have an impressive repertoire of best practices for rape crisis center guidelines, and work to prevent sexual violence from an evidence-based approach.
Ireland’s dedication to stopping gender-based violence is impressive but obviously still not enough. Hopefully the work of these impactful organizations will speed up the process of creating a lasting peace in Ireland, from the front lines to the home front.