Much-needed funds for COPE's Galway domestic abuse service have been raised by a recent online tea party.
Organised by Cllr Evelyn Parsons to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the virtual event raised some €540 for services combatting domestic and sexual violence.
“I’m very grateful to everyone who generously donated and supported COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service," says Cllr Parsons. "This initiative raised much-needed funds for what is being called the shadow pandemic of domestic violence.
"This year's theme for International Women's Day was Choose to Challenge, and so it is apt to raise awareness on an issue which affects all genders of course, but women and children disproportionately."
Over the past 40 years, COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service has supported some 20,000 women and children, but statistics show the problem is escalating during the pressure keg of this pandemic, with work from home, social restrictions, home schooling and alcohol being contributing factors. she says.
"Whether we are aware or not, someone we know is affected by domestic, sexual, or gender-based violence. Therefore I was pleased to support the efforts of Soroptimists Ireland Ballinasloe in raising awareness of this serious issue.''
Cllr Parsons says she has raised the urgent need for more supports for victims and survivors with the HSE at the Regional Health Forum in February and she will continue to liaise on this issue with Oireachtas members.
"Together we can work towards a future free from abuse,'' said Cllr Parsons who emphasized that Covid travel restrictions do not apply if someone is encountering domestic sexual gender based violence.
If in immediate danger call: The Gardaí 999 or 112 ( 24 hours ); COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service & Refuge 091565985 (24 hours ); Women's Aid Freephone Helpline 1800341900 (24 hours ); Men's Aid National Confidential Helpline 01 5543811.