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Clare Haven Services welcome domestic violence awareness campaign

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CLARE Haven Services have welcomed the new Government awareness and information campaign on domestic violence.

The organisation has been supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse and domestic violence in Co Clare for the last 25 years.

Dr Siobhán O’Connor, Manager of Services, said that the campaign comes at a critical time for women and children who may be confined and isolated with their abuser in towns and townlands across the county.

“The campaign was creative and strong in its message to survivors and communities that professional frontline supports in Clare are open and operating,” she added.

Dr O’Connor encouraged people to call the helpline on 0656822435 for support and information any time of the day or night.

“The most important message is that we are open and working to help protect women and children here in Co Clare. Covid-19 brings challenges but we are re-configuring and finding new, creative ways to help keep women safe.

“In the last two to three weeks the refuge itself has been very busy. Similarly, women, and those concerned for them, continue to ring us on the helpline. We encourage them to do so. We know it is difficult generally for women and children, however, the current isolation and closing off of public places, places of escape, for them is heightening anxiety. Clare Haven Services are reaching out to women in Co Clare to rest assure them that we are here, we are available to all women and we will help.

“It is the silences that are ominous. Our greatest concern, four weeks into this pandemic, is that women may be finding it much more difficult to make contact for support. Previously women may have contacted services when they or their partners were at work or out of the house, or when children were in school. Those little windows of freedom are being cut down.”

Siobhán commented that in these stressful circumstances that it was more important than ever that there was a strong community response to domestic violence.

“During Covid-19 we are being reminded that we are all in this together. The response to domestic violence can be no different. We are asking people to be vigilant, to keep in touch with friends and family, to be aware that homes may not be safe and to be her voice in looking for support at a time when she may not be able to use her voice.

“A strong awareness campaign must matched with solid and reliable State funding so that Clare Haven Services is adequately resourced to continue to give refuge to women or keep them safe in their homes.

“Safe Ireland, the national social change agency, has made a case to Government on behalf of all services, including CHS for €1.6 to enable all services to manage this crisis adequately.”

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, call Clare Haven Services on 065-6842646 or email clientcare@clarehaven.ie.

Elaine has been a member of staff with The Clare Echo since its foundation in October 2017. The paper's first Chief Reporter, the Kilrush woman is now working as a sub-editor in our busy newsroom. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Limerick with a Masters in Journalism. Elaine briefly worked with the RTE Investigations Unit on the Standards in Public Office investigation before returning to Clare to continue her career as a reporter with the Clare People where she spent nine months as the West Clare correspondent and also covered the 2016 General Election and 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

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