Domestic Violence Response Galway (DVR ), a charity supporting women impacted by domestic abuse, recorded the highest number of clients in 2021 in its 24-year history, as well as its highest level of counselling support sessions.
The charity launched its new premises and expanded services in Moycullen on Monday when key findings from the 2021 annual report highlighted the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the organisation and the women it supports. A total of 266 service users availed of the services in 2021, with a significant increase in return service users later in the year.
Moreover, DVR provided 51 nights of accommodation to service users in Galway city and county from June 2020 to December 2021. Some 1,450 support sessions were provided by DVR’s support workers to service users.
In late June 2021, women shared with DVR staff how Covid-19 restrictions were used as a tactic to inflict further control, enforce isolation, impose strict cleaning routines, and punishments for putting the family at risk by their abusers. A drastic increase in disclosures on sexual abuse was also noted by staff during this period.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Elizabeth Power, coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic abuse in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history, and delivered the highest number of support services. Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.”
“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway. As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”
DVR’s new premises in Moycullen were launched by Catherine Connolly TD, Leas Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann. The new premises, along with recent recruitment of new staff and expansion of the board of directors represents the start of a new era for DVR.
Speaking further, Elizabeth Power said: “DVR has been providing domestic violence supports to people since 1998 and the opening of our Moycullen premises is an important milestone for the organisation. We have created a dynamic, innovative responsive service for Galway city and county and we look forward to continuing to provide this much-needed support long into the future.”
For more information about DVR Galway, visit: www.domesticviolenceresponse.com