Where it began
Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge was established in 1988 in response to the needs of women and children suffering domestic violence in their home – this need was identified following a research project in 1986 by a local group in Ballymun part-taking in a FÁS Community Development and Leadership Course. In 1987 this same group applied to Dublin Corporation for a 3 bedroom flat as an overnight crisis centre to respond to the needs of women and children fleeing Domestic Violence. In January 1988, the Ballymun Women’s Refuge Group were allocated a flat on the Sillogue Road, Ballymun – by June 1988 they employed workers through the Social Employment Scheme who were given 6 weeks training in basic counselling skills. On the 21st August 1988, the service had the first woman stay overnight.
The Refuge provided crisis counselling, support, legal information, emergency overnight accommodation and referral to other agencies.
What started out as a refuge 30 years ago has grown expediently to best meet women and children through each stage of the cycle of domestic abuse. This includes access to not just a choice of service supports but a wraparound delivery that takes a family from crisis to recovery. Today, Aoibhneas has grown from strength to strength. Our 10-unit refuge underwent a refurbishment in 2014 and remains in operation in Dublin 17. In 2017 alone, Aoibhneas supported 404 families directly through the various elements of our service; 134 women and 239 children were accommodated in refuge; 235 women and 407 children were supported in the community
through the outreach support service; 131 women were accompanied to court and staff supported a total of 2,753 calls to the 24/7 Helpline service.