24 Hour Freephone Helpline Launch

Dublin Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland launches Freephone Helpline

Dublin, 8 October 2021 | Aoibhneas, launches a 24-hour freephone helpline, as need for community support continues to rise. The helpline was officially launched by Dublin Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland as Aoibhneas publishes its 2020 Annual Report, outlining support offered to women and children affected by domestic abuse throughout 2020, a period of unprecedented pressure for the organisation, as a result of COVID-19 and associated lockdowns.

Despite the onset of the pandemic and the direct impact public health restrictions had on service provision, in 2020 Aoibhneas provided frontline and direct support to 1,111 women and children. In supporting those women and children, Aoibhneas provided 36,809 interventions to women (i.e. therapeutic group sessions, psycho-educational sessions, parenting support sessions, safety planning sessions) and 3,999 interventions (i.e. one to one emotional support sessions, play and art therapy, homework club and literacy classes) to children.

281 women and children were provided with crisis accommodation which due to social distancing requirements in the refuge, was possible as the organisation procured an additional 14-units of accommodation, and availed of private rental accommodation and Airbnb during the height of COVID-19 restrictions. In addition, to direct work, the helpline answered and worked through 9,065 calls, a 10% increase on 2019 figures.

Community supports became even more critical in 2020 for women experiencing domestic abuse, as the existence of the virus meant that some families were reluctant to leave their homes. Community outreach workers represented a lifeline for many families in these situations and their visibility and availability remained a priority for Aoibhneas. 1070 families received outreach and community support on an aggregated basis in 2020.  Demonstrating that a victim requires ongoing sustained support and engagement, reflecting that the healing and recovery process is anything but instant.

The launch of the organisations freephone helpline today is a further step in ensuring women can access community support and with no barriers. The helpline provides:

• Practical and emotional support to women who have or are experiencing physical, emotional, sexual and/or financial abuse.

• Advice and assistance on legal, housing, social welfare, rights and entitlements, budgeting.

• Information, advocacy and referral to appropriate services.

• Referral to refuge.