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Domestic abuse service helped 76 women and 100 children in 24 hours

Every year Aoibhneas has to turn away 400 families seeking refuge.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/lola1960

A DOMESTIC ABUSE support service helped 76 women and 100 children over a 24-hour period.

Aoibhneas, which is based in Dublin, today released the results of a one-day census to mark its 30th anniversary.

The census was conducted from 9am on 24 January to 9am on 25 January 2019.

In just 24 hours, 76 women accessed direct support through refuge (nine), outreach service (55) and the helpline (12).

In the same time frame, 100 children received direct or indirect support through refuge (19), outreach service (80) and the helpline (one).

Despite receiving three crisis referrals from women seeking refuge, Aoibhneas was in a position to only accommodate one family.

As a result of this, at 12.30am on 24 January a woman and child were admitted to the refuge. Aoibhneas also welcomed six children into the refuge, these children were reunited with their mother who was already resident in the service.

In any one day the organisation said it takes on a wide range of interventions.

On the day in question this included emotional support, practical support, child-related support, safety supports, court preparation and accompaniment, therapeutic group support, developmental play, breakfast club, play therapy and art therapy.

Representatives from the service accompanied three families access legal and safety supports by separately accompanying them to court, a garda station and a solicitor’s appointment.

18 different nationalities

On 24 January, 18 different nationalities were supported across the service including three women who do not satisfy the habitual residence condition and therefore have no access to payments or housing.

Community education and training form part of Aoibhneas’ outreach service to promote best practice care and to help change societal attitudes to support a reduction in domestic abuse. On this day, the organisation conducted onsite domestic abuse training with nine public health nurses.

Aoibhneas One Day Census Infographic Source: Aoibhneas

Emma Reidy, Aoibhneas’ manager, said the figures show a service will like “is very much needed”.

Reidy said the refuge operates at capacity and the organization has to turn away an average of 400 families every year.

We are actively seeking access to step-down accommodation to facilitate our holding on to families for longer periods after completing a refuge stay to promote continued recovery and healing within our service.

Cristina Santamaria, chairperson of Aoibhneas’ board of directors, said the organisation is committed to finding “long-term solutions that promote women and children to live without the fear or threat of abuse in their homes”.

Aoibhneas was established 30 years ago in a three-bedroom flat in Ballymun and is now the largest refuge in the Dublin area, providing crisis accommodation to 10 families at any one time in a purpose-built facility in Coolock.

As well as refuge provision, Aoibhneas now operates a 24-hour helpline and a range of community-based supports including education and training, an outreach service, an accompaniment service, a drop-in service, a childcare service and a post-refuge support service.

More information about its services can be read here.

Need help? Support is available: 

If you have been affected by domestic abuse and would like to talk, contact the below numbers or visit SafeIreland.ie.

  • Aoibhneas: 01 867 0701
  • Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
  • Amen (for men): 046 902 3718

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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