Mayo Children's Initiative (MCI ) will be launched today, February 19 at 11am at Ballyheane Community Centre, outside Castlebar. This is the first time in Ireland that efforts are being made to address the issue of children's experience of domestic violence specifically.
The new service will be launched by special guest Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos Ireland.
Research indicates that two thirds of women in Ireland who experience domestic violence report that their children witness the violence as it occurs. Research also shows that children are not passive by-standers. Their exposure to domestic violence affects how they perform in school, how they make friends, and how they think about themselves, for example.
Yet, up to now, Ireland has not had a specific or co-ordinated response for these young people.
The work of Mayo Children's Initiative is firmly based in research. It came about initially as a result of the recognition by the workers in Mayo Women's Support Services (MWSS ) of the lack of services for children in the county. MCI then commissioned research which was undertaken by the Children's Research Centre in Trinity College and the Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG.
The evidence from this research forms the basis for the initiative's design and plans, which have already been put into play in Erris, north Mayo.
Speakers will include Helen Mortimer, manager of MCI; Dara Calleary TD, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Councillor John Cribben, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council.