Meath Women’s Aid were exceptionally busy over Christmas taking countless phonecalls from women in difficult circumstances.
The service provided help to 50 women and their families in the run to Christmas and worked with Meath County Council to ensure they were settled and supported for the festive season.
Spokesperson, Deirdre Murphy said they seemed to have had a lot more call over this Christmas than in previous years.
“We have a 24 hour helpline and it was very busy - though mostly during the daytime.
“We usually get a lot of calls after Christmas, but this year, we had a lot over the Christmas period.
“The problem of domestic abuse has been highlighted a lot in the media recently and there is more awareness and women are looking to see what their options are,” she says. “The more the problem is highlighted, the more people come forward.”
“We were also very busy with people giving us donations. People were really generous and their donations were really appreciated. We were able to provide extra help to women who used out services and they were really appreciative.”
In the past year, Meath Women’s Aid supported 400 women through their information helpline, support groups, refuge accommodation, court accompaniment and support for children.
Their helpline can be contacted on 046 9022393.
“We will get back to women as soon as is possible and the gardai are also there to help,” she says.
Confidentiality is important and they ensure that it is strictly observed.
A new initiative in 2018 was a children’s programme, which was very successful.
“It was a pilot programme and we hope to hold another two this year. It is a programme for children affected by domestic violence. It deals with improving self esteem and giving them strategies they can use.
“It acknowledges them, shows that they can be seen, looks at how they can help themselves and reduces anxiety.”
Ms Murphy welcomed new legislation on domestic abuse that came into force on New Years Day.
“There are some quite progressive new laws that recognize that someone doesn’t have to be physically injured to be a victim of abuse.
“There is the problem where a partner controls every aspect of a woman’s life.
“She is not given money, not allowed to meet friend, go out on her own.
“The new laws recognise that. It is moving in the right direction,” she says.