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New domestic abuse refuge in Galway will allow mothers to bring their teenage sons with them

Cope Galway said one women last year had to choose between staying in an abusive household with her sons or living in the refuge without them.

Development works are near completion on Modh Eile House.
Development works are near completion on Modh Eile House.

A NEW DOMESTIC abuse refuge in Co Galway, due to open in a month’s time, will allow mothers with teenage sons to bring them with them when they leave an abusive household. The new facility will also cater for older women and women with disabilities.

A former convent building is currently being developed by Cope Galway as a new domestic abuse refuge with additional accommodation, a dedicated children’s facility and teenage area and one-to-one rooms. The charity has said the building is also more secure than its current facility.

Modh Eile House will provide 50% more accommodation for families dealing with violent and abusive home situations. The charity said 90% of funding has already been secured but the remaining 10% (€400,000) is needed now in order to complete the project.

Carol Baumann, manager of domestic abuse services at Cope Galway said last year the charity could not accommodate a woman and her teenage sons in its existing building because it only had shared bathrooms.

“She had to make the decision whether to stay with us, without her children, or return to try to protect her sons from abuse in the family home,” she said. “In our new building at Modh Eile House, we will be able to accommodate children and teenagers from 0 – 18 years of age and various family types which previously would not have been possible.”

“We also have elderly women who are dealing with abuse in their homes. Recently a woman in her 80’s came to us for assistance, with very clear mobility issues. At Modh Eile house, we have apartments which allow for elderly or disabled access so that access is not an issue.”

Baumann said people would be surprised to learn of the types of women who are in need of these services.

“Often, we meet women who appear to be financially well-off, who are often professional and well-educated, but in actuality, they have nothing or are suffering from financial abuse and control within their homes and relationships,” she explained.

“Frequently, they don’t know where to turn and we can help to give them a chance to get perspective on the situation and offer them a safe place to go.”

We have had women whose partners control everything including finances, food, heating, access to medication and other basic services. These are not just women’s rights but human rights which are being withheld. It crosses age, class, education, profession. Appearances can be very deceiving.

In addition to refuge, Modh Eile House will also offer other support services including professional advice and other supports to help women to decide the best way forward for their situation. The charity is appealing for donations to help complete the project in the next month.

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