Galway Domestic Abuse Service has welcomed the timely, new Government awareness and information campaign on domestic abuse, which was launched this week (www.stillhere.ie ) It is understood that radio and TV ads will start this week as part of the campaign.
Dr Carol Baumann, Manager of COPE Galway’s Domestic Abuse Service said that the campaign comes at a critical time for women and children who may be confined and isolated with their abuser in Galway City and in towns and townlands across the County. She said that the campaign was creative and strong in its message to survivors and communities that COPE Galway’s professional frontline supports in Galway are open and operating.
She encouraged people to call COPE Galway’s Domestic Abuse Service on the 24 hour helpline 091 565985 for support and advice.
“The most important message is that we are open and working to help protect women and children here in Galway”, said Dr Baumann. “Covid-19 brings challenges but we are re-configuring and have found new, creative ways to help keep women safe. Our Service has remained open, operational and active, twenty four hours a day throughout the coronavirus crisis.”
“While we have received some new calls, really it is the silence that is ominous,” she continued. “Our greatest concern, as we begin our fifth week into this pandemic, is that women may be finding it much more difficult to make contact for support. Previously, women may have contacted services when they or their partners were at work or out of the house, or when children were in school. Those little windows of freedom are being cut down. Our advice to any woman in danger or at risk – take whatever opportunity to reach out that feels safe to you.”
Dr Baumann also said that in these stressful circumstances that it was more important than ever that there was a strong community response to domestic violence.
“During Covid-19 we are being reminded that we are all in this together. The response to domestic abuse can be no different. We are asking people to be vigilant, to keep in touch with friends and family, to be aware that homes may not be safe and to be a person’s voice in looking for support at a time when she may not be able to use her voice. I would urge a woman to remember, despite what she might hear from her abuser: we believe you; we’re listening; we’re here 24 hours to help when you’re ready; just find a safe moment to make the call.”
Dr Baumann concluded by welcoming the commitment of the State, through Tusla, to provide the resources required to keep the Service operational – a recognition of how important this matter is.