Mayo domestic abuse and rape crisis support services have added their voices to a major new TV, radio and social media advertising campaign to tackle the serious issue of domestic violence.
The campaign seeks to reassure victims that services are ‘still here’, and that victims are being prioritised during the Covid-19 emergency. Lorretta McDonagh from Mayo Rape Crisis Centre said: "We support survivors of sexual violence in their healing and in the hard times. For many survivors the emergency brings added stress on top of their trauma, this is why in Mayo Rape Crisis Centre we are still here for you. We are delighted to support the campaign.”
A spokesperson for Mayo Women’s Support Services, a Safe Ireland frontline member service, said: "We welcome the timely, new Government awareness and information campaign on domestic violence, called Still Here. The most important message is that we are open and working to help protect women and children here in Mayo Covid-19 brings challenges but we are re-configuring and finding new, creative ways to help keep women safe.”
“During Covid-19 we are being reminded that we are all in this together. The response to domestic violence can be no different. This campaign is also 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 voice in looking for support at a time when a survivor not be able to use hers because of being isolated or controlled with an abuser.”
The new ads were developed by the Department of Justice and Equality who collaborated with frontline services.
The powerful ads depict the reality for victims of domestic abuse when their home is no longer a safe place. One of the radio ads depicts a mother trying to reassure her child that their effort to hide from their abuser is just a game of ‘Hide and Seek’ while the other features a male victim trying to communicate his plight to the emergency services. The TV ad meanwhile portrays a woman’s attempt to keep in contact with her friend through a video call being interrupted by her abusive partner.
Speaking about the campaign, Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said: "We would all like if these scenarios were fictitious or exaggerated but sadly, they aren’t.
"They conjure up a strong sense of the victims feeling trapped. The very place we have all been sent for safety because of COVID-19 – ‘home’ - is anything but safe for some people, and these ads recognise that. However It is vital that victims realise that services are still there and the law is on their side."
The ads carry the message to victims that services are still available despite the COVID-19 emergency. However Minister of State David Stanton made the point that they can also fulfil another function: "I hope these ads will serve as a reminder to those of us who do feel safe at home to check in on any friends or relations who we have even the smallest worry about. We need to tell them that we are still here for them.”
The Department has provided an additional allocation of over €196,000 to community and voluntary groups to support their work and is also funding the making and airing of the ad. Information on services and supports for victims is available on a new website www.stillhere.ie