Esker House women’s refuge assisting more families impacted by domestic abuse

Better broadband connectivity for increased support service

Esker House Head of Services, Deirdre Berry

Esker House Head of Services, Deirdre Berry

Esker House, the domestic abuse support service based in Athlone, has credited improved broadband connectivity across its two sites as enabling it to expand its services and reach larger numbers of service users.

The Athlone based refuge provides services right across the Midlands region and confirmed that the level of service interventions it provides has increased by 151 percent over the last 12 months.

This significant increase in the levels of service activity, reflects a marked expansion in the number and range of supports Esker House is providing to women, children and families across the region.

The increase in service delivery has been due to two key developments for the organisation.

The first, its expansion to a new and second location, has provided Esker House with additional office space to host workshops and community outreach. The second reason has been the significant improvement in broadband services now available to Esker House, which has enhanced its productivity and capacity to engage with more service users online.

Last year, SIRO, in collaboration with retail partner, Viatel, sponsored the refuge service with full fibre broadband connectivity. This provides speeds of up to one Gigabit per second and ensures resilient and reliable broadband. Previously, Esker House relied on an older copper broadband connection which limited the service’s capacity to meet the scale of demands placed upon it.

Over the last 12 months, Esker House has seen:

The overall number of service interventions recorded has increased by 151%

The number of Support Plan Objectives increase by 128% (these are goals set out with service users to increase their safety and/or take actions to safety )

One-to-one sessions have increased by 26%

The number of clients supported has increased by 20%

The expanded Esker House services, which now has five refuge units for women offering emergency on-site services to more women and children affected by domestic violence.

These units are equipped with full access to streaming services and Wi-Fi so they can remain connected to loved ones during their stay, while kids have access to devices to keep them entertained or internet access for schoolwork.

In the new office space at their second Athlone location, Esker House is now able to host workshops and community training to women and children affected by domestic violence, as well as providing pre-and post-court services. The connectivity also allows for effective communication and contact between the various teams undertaking this vital work.

In 2022 alone, 12 women died by violent deaths in Ireland, the highest number ever recorded. As of April 2023, 258 women have died violently since 1996 with 63% of the victims dying in their own home.

Commenting this week, Head of Services Esker House, Deirdre Berry, stated that the facility’s expansion to a secondary office location has enabled the enhancement of its services to those who need it most.

“Esker House’s expansion to a secondary office location could not have happened without the support of SIRO and Viatel’s fibre connection. We have the SIRO connectivity in the main office as well, and we couldn’t fault it. It’s been transformative for us, as we’ve been able to migrate to Zoom and get rid of our landlines so we can take calls wherever, and not have to be tied to our desks.”

“We’ve been able to introduce Salesforces and ESafe, which allows us to create and manage cases and create safety plans for service users and provide connectivity to our service users in the refuge. We’ve been able to track 151% more service interventions, without SIRO, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Now that we’ve been able to expand to our new office, we’ve been able to host workshops, expand our reach, and even have a dedicated room for children to come and receive a bespoke support service. We couldn’t have been able to do this without SIRO and Viatel,” Ms Berry said.

SIRO Corporate Affairs Director, Amanda Glancy, noted that Esker House was a clear example of the positive effects that connectivity can have on a community and the services provided for that community.

“Not only does fibre support businesses in their daily functions, but it can be used to connect people and, in this case, keep them safer and protected. We’re proud that SIRO’s full fibre connectivity can support Esker House’s vital work in delivering critical, lifesaving services,” Ms Glancy added.

If you, or someone you know may need the services of Esker House, please contact their helpline at 09064 74122 or get further information at www.eskerhouse.ie

 

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