Ombudsman for Children to Highlight Unique Effects of Domestic Abuse & Violence on Children at Launch of COPE Galway Annual Report
10 October 2018
COPE Galway will today (Wednesday, 10th October) launch their 2017 Annual Report. Dr. Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children will give the keynote address at the launch, which will also relay individual stories from people who have come through the organisation’s services for people experiencing Domestic Abuse, Homelessness and services for Older People.
COPE Galway’s annual report will reveal that 2017 saw
- 214 individual children supported by COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service – an increase of 35% on 2016 figures
- 62 children admitted to COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Refuge
- 441 children who sought refuge with their mothers but could not be accommodated at the refuge due to lack of space
Speaking in advance of the launch, Dr. Carol Baumann, COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service Manager commented, “Children living in homes where there is domestic abuse often feel alone. They dare not talk about what is going on at home out of fear or embarrassment. They can miss out on the process and usual experiences of growing up as some have to mature too quickly to mind siblings and keep an eye on what is going on at home. They may find it difficult to make friends and form relationships as they get older as they may have skewed ideas of gender roles and expectations of roles”.
With today also marking United Nations World Mental Health Day, Dr Baumann notes, “Even in a climate of child safeguarding, insufficient attention is paid to emotional and psychological abuse in the home, which can manifest itself not only as violence, but as manipulation, coercion, coaching and control, all of which serve to undermine the mental health of the child. Prolonged stress at a young age over a long period of time can be detrimental in relation to a child’s physical and mental health as they grow up.”
CEO Jacquie Horan said, “We have spoken previously about the impact of the housing crisis on children who have to live in emergency accommodation. Today, we see again from the numbers and stories in our 2017 Annual Report how the shortage of accommodation affects people across all our service areas. Children, from aged a few weeks old to those in their teens, will be affected by any exposure to domestic abuse in their homes. Families experiencing domestic abuse have very limited housing options to move from a violent or abusive home and, as a direct consequence of the housing crisis, children are often exposed to the effects of domestic abuse over a longer period of time.”
COPE Galway’s 2017 Annual Report will outline the real experiences of families and individuals in crisis and indicate how every effort must be made to safeguard children against the trauma and the disadvantages that the experience of domestic violence will give rise to in their lives, in their education and their future prospects in life.
COPE Galway is calling for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to be upheld, where all “appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures” are taken to protect the child from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation”.
Jacquie Horan concluded, “Childhood deserves better, and as a society, we need to make this a priority so that all our children have at the very least a home that meets their needs”.
The launch event takes place at the Harbour Hotel on Wednesday, October 10th at 12.30pm.
The organisation will also launch the new COPE Galway 2017 Video, Sean’s Story, available on www.copegalway.ie after the launch.
A COPE Galway/Service Users Refuge Forum (SURF) booklet on parenting: Parenting after Domestic Violence and Abuse, will also be distributed at the launch.
Contact: Jacquie Horan, COPE Galway. Phone: 091 778 750
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COPE Galway is a Galway-based charity providing a range of services that address the needs of people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness; women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse and supports for older people living in the community. Their vision is for an “Improved Quality of Life in a Home of your Own” for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic violence, and older people.
In 2017 COPE Galway worked with 339 individual women and 214 children experiencing Domestic Abuse. They also worked with1012 adults and 576 children affected by homelessness in Galway, including 242 families and 695 single people. The organisation delivered almost 50,000 meals on wheels to older clients around Galway and supported 1,740 individuals through the FEAD programme (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived).