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TV and radio ads set to be part of new campaign against domestic abuse during Covid-19 crisis

Gardaí have stressed that support for victims of domestic abuse victims will not stop because of the pandemic.

Sarah Benson from Women's Aid stressed that supports are still available for victims of domestic abuse.
Sarah Benson from Women's Aid stressed that supports are still available for victims of domestic abuse.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A NEW CAMPAIGN is set to be launched to raise awareness of the support and protection available for victims of domestic violence. 

Domestic abuse charities have highlighted how vulnerable many victims will be during the coronavirus crisis, at a time when people are being told to stay at home. 

Gardaí are implementing Operation Faoisimh and have emphasised that support for victims will not stop because of the pandemic. 

New TV and radio ads will be launched to tell victims of domestic violence that support is still available, while the Courts Service and the Legal Aid Board are both prioritising domestic violence and childcare cases. 

The latter is also maintaining a phone line and email address for victims seeking support. 

A dedicated website has also been launched to remind people that supports are still there for the duration of the crisis. 

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said that the campaign was “really important”.

“I am very conscious that for victims of domestic abuse, home can be anything but a safe place,” Flanagan said. “That is why I want victims to know that they will continue to receive the highest priority from the civil and criminal justice system throughout this crisis. I want perpetrators to know that too.”

The Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Clíona Saidléar, called on people to “please reach out to us”. 

“Know that you have a right to safety from sexual violence and we are all still here and ready to support you,” she said. 

Sarah Benson, the CEO of Women’s Aid, called it a “critical time” for communities to support people who are vulnerable. 

“It is also important that anyone who thinks that the current stress and strain of Covid 19 offers any excuse to behave in an abusive manner is reminded that abuse is unacceptable,” she said. 

Tusla has also launched a range of supports. Where a service has lost staff because of the virus, it will fund temporary additional staff to replace them, while some PPE is being supplied to the sector. 

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“The COVID-19 crisis has not diminished our service,” Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said. 

More information can be found at stillhere.ie. The Women’s Aid 24-hour national freephone helpline is also available on 1800 341 900. 

The organisation also has useful information on its website here about safety planning and guidance for family and friends when supporting a loved one affected by abuse.

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