• Clodagh Meaney

Safe Ireland partners with totalhealth pharmacies to help domestic violence survivors access support

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Gateway to Safety allows domestic violence survivors access expert support through a free and confidential service

As Ireland moves into phase three, and even closer to fully re-opening after COVID-19 lockdown, Safe Ireland and totalhealth Pharmacies are launching a new initiative to help survivors of domestic violence to access help, advice and support.

The community based initiative, Gateway to Safety, will help ensure that people can easily and confidentially speak to one of 39 frontline specialist services across Ireland.

It comes as domestic abuse has risen by 25% during COVID-19, with calls to Women's Aid rising by 39%.

The initiative was set up to encourage those experiencing domestic violence and coercive control to come forward and speak in confidence to the team at their local Pharmacy.

Safe Ireland’s Co-CEO Mary McDermott said that during lockdown, there was a collective focus on the sanctuary of our homes and a national outpouring of empathy for those trapped in unsafe and controlling environments.

"Now that we are beginning to move out from our homes again it is vital that we don’t lift our eyes away from those continuing to live in unsafe homes."

She also added that post-lockdown domestic violence services have already seen a significant increase in the numbers and complexity of cases coming forward.

"It was now more important than ever that it easy for women to reach out to the specialist services they need from a variety of community based sanctuaries, like pharmacies," she explained.

“If we want safe homes, we must have safe communities,” she continued, “with this partnership with totalhealth, we are making it clear that people do not have to live with domestic abuse and coercive control at any time and that support is available, right here in your community."

"totalhealth Pharmacies are providing an accessible, safe and confidential space for survivors and those close to them who may be concerned, to be connected with expert help so that they can begin to make a first, simple step to safety and freedom.”

Commenting on the partnership, Rory O’Donnell, chairperson of totalhealth, said: “It’s so important that people who may have been living with an abuser know that help is available and that their community supports them. We are delighted to be able to join with Safe Ireland and its members in all of our communities to provide a safe, confidential gateway to professional domestic violence advice and supports.”

Safe Ireland is the national policy and services hub for 39 frontline domestic abuse services working with women and children throughout the country.

Each year, on average Safe Ireland frontline member services provide supports to approximately 12,500 people across Ireland.

If you have been affected by any of the themes in this article, please reach out:

Children At Risk Ireland - 1890 92 45 67

Men's Aid - 01 554 3811

Women’s Aid -  1800 34 19 00

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre - 1800 77 88 88

Crime Victims Helpline - 116 006

© 2020 by EMPWR

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