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Human Rights Lawyer Simone George Gives Keynote Address at Launch of COPE Galway 2018 Annual Report

COPE Galway today (Wednesday 16 October) launched their 2018 Annual Report, for which Human Rights Lawyer, Simone George gave the keynote address. Referring to her advocacy work for people experiencing domestic abuse and violence, Simone George indicated that tackling this abuse, in all its forms, is the responsibility of the community as a whole.

The new 2019 Domestic Violence Act, which Simone worked on and described today as a “truly revolutionary piece of legislation” sets us a challenge as a country in how we are going to use it. “Ultimately, we have to be honest about how we have treated those experiencing domestic abuse or violence, particularly women and children,” she said.

“The majority of the women we work with use our outreach services, parenting supports and support groups,” says Carol Baumann, COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service’s Manager.

“Our service saw a lot of activity in 2018, during which time we worked with 457 women along with their children. Our work here is focused on the women who are in, who are trying to leave, or who may have already left an abusive relationship. About 15% of these women stay at our refuge, which is intended as emergency accommodation for women and children in immediate danger from a violent partner.”

COPE Galway also operates a service for children and works with schools, colleges, and professional services to inform and increase awareness around domestic abuse in all its forms. The local organisation is looking forward to the completion of a new facility, Modh Eile House, which will expand the residential capacity of the service by 50%.

Domestic abuse affects women in our community across all demographics, socio-economic groups and professions. “I believe there isn’t one family in Ireland that isn’t touched in some way by domestic abuse,” continued Simone George.

“I have met people over the last 8 years from every social class, every educational background, every part of our society.” The abuse, affecting one in five of women known to each of us, can be physical or sexual but can also be the financial, emotional or psychological abuse of one person against another within a family environment or by an intimate partner.”

Simone George expects that the new statutory guidelines in the 2018 Domestic Violence Act will assist in the making of protective orders and lead to the emergence of a culture where cases are appealed, and where “if a victim’s right to liberty, bodily integrity and life under our constitution has been trumped by the respondent’s property right, we will know about it and be able to do something about it”.

In 2018, COPE Galway supported 2,593 adults (plus any related children) in Galway who were experiencing homelessness and domestic abuse as well as older people in need of nutritional support, many of whom also experience loneliness and isolation. The local charity works on behalf of the Galway Community to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens. At the launch of their 2018 Annual Report today (Wednesday, 16th October) they shone a light on the impact of their work across their services, and gave a platform to the real experiences of the men, women and children who rely on COPE Galway’s services.

For more information and to read the stories please visit copegalway.ie/annualreport

The launch event took place at the Harbour Hotel on Wednesday October 16 at 12.00pm.

– Ends –

For more information or to get a print copy of the report, contact:

Colette Coughlan – Phone 091 778 750 or  Email info@copegalway.ie

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Background Information:

COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is an “Improved Quality of Life in a Home of your Own” for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic abuse, and older people.

In 2018 COPE Galway worked with 949 adults and 457 children affected by homelessness in Galway, including 186 families and 612 single people. They also worked with 457 individual women and their children who were experiencing Domestic Abuse; produced and delivered 59,053 meals to older clients and for our services around Galway; worked with 730 older people at risk of isolation and supported 3,263 individuals through the FEAD programme (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived).

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