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Women's Aid: Don't suffer domestic abuse in silence

The organisation says that one in five women in Ireland is affected by domestic abuse, but a third will never tell anyone what is happening to them.
Sep 10th 2012, 12:31 PM 4,350 6

WOMEN ARE BEING urged not to suffer domestic abuse in silence and to ring the Women’s Aid National freephone helpline if they need help.

Women’s Aid has launched a new campaign today encouraging women to speak up about domestic violence as it marks 20 years of the helpline in Ireland. The helpline’s number is 1800 341 900.

Women’s Aid said that one in five women in Ireland is affected by domestic abuse, but a third of those will never tell anyone what is happening to them. 

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid said:

We understand how difficult it is for women experiencing domestic abuse to talk about what is happening.  Many women are afraid that they will not be believed or that they will blamed for the abuse.  Others struggle to find the words to describe their situation.  All too often, women feel alone and isolated, unaware that help is available or unable to make sense of what is being done to them.

She said the organisation hopes that through its radio advertising “we can speak directly to a woman who is living in fear, and who may be sitting at home, or listening in her car on the way to work or on the school run, and tell her that she is not alone”.

Speaking in support of the campaign, RTÉ broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan said:

I know women are famous for talking to each other about all that life throws at us but in the case of domestic abuse, many women feel unable to tell even their closest family or friends.  Others do not even know how to start to describe the terrible abuse they are suffering.  But if any woman is feeling isolated, alone and fearful of their boyfriends, partners or husbands, don’t be afraid to call Women’s Aid.

“Domestic abuse can happen to any woman”

In 2011, the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline answered over 11,000 calls from thousands of abused women.

According to Martin:

The sad fact is that domestic abuse can happen to any woman, in any home and at any stage in her life. In 2011, women disclosed that they were punched, slapped, kicked, held down and strangled and beaten with household items. Women told us that they were constantly belittled, criticised, blamed and stalked and harassed via technology both during the relationship and after leaving.

The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline has been operating since 1992 and was recently accreditated by The Helplines Association, the membership and good practice organisation for all helplines in the UK, Ireland and beyond.

The Women’s Aid ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ National Public Awareness Campaign runs until 8 October and is funded by Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (www.cosc.ie).

The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 is open from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week and is available, free of charge, throughout the Republic of Ireland.  www.womensaid.ie

Amen, which offers assistance to men suffering from domestic violence, can be contacted on 046 9023 718 or by email at info@amen.ie

Read: Domestic violence group encourage victims to come forward after judge’s comments>

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Aoife Barry

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