This Isn’t Abuse… Is it?
COPE Galway marks annual 16 Days of Action on Violence against Women
The local organisation is calling for vigilance around abusive relationships and the need to keep communication channels open.
COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service has called on the local community to recognise domestic abuse as a wider societal issue and to be alert to the fact that a woman they know may be in an abusive situation at home – one that is perhaps compounded under COVID restrictions.
As the local organisation marks the annual global awareness campaign, 16 days of Action on Violence against Women, COPE Galway is calling on neighbours, friends, co-workers and professional services to make a conscious effort to open and keep open the lines of communication with a woman you may not have heard from in a while.
After several months of reduced interaction during the pandemic, it might take more of an effort to contact people you would usually see more regularly. As a community, we have a role to play in keeping channels of communication open with our friends and neighbours.
Dr Carol Baumann, Head of Domestic Abuse at COPE Galway explains, “Current living circumstances have eroded opportunities for women and children in abusive situations to seek help, to tell someone, to gain headspace, to reflect. Normal channels for release – friends, professional services, extended family – are closed off, resulting in many more women and children living in more intense, possibly more dangerous homes. ”
Coercive control and other forms of domestic abuse are illegal – they are a crime. Abusers use isolation to prevent their victims from connecting with the world. Dr Baumann advises, “If someone is in danger, then the Gardai should be called – 999. Do not ignore the signs of isolation – if you see that things are not ok then call us on 091 56 59 85 and we can guide and help work out a way to support. Let your friend know it is possible to get help; if someone asks you to make the call, please do so. Our service is open 24/7. We have space. We have time. We offer support at every stage and guide through each step to take”.
The pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for intimate abuse and control, which thrives in a time of restricted movements and recommendations to work from home, to limit social interaction and to reduce contact. Dr. Baumann continued, “The current public health messaging, essential in respect of a pandemic, perversely echoes the messages of an abusive partner – no need for you to go to work, stay here with me, we don’t need anyone else, I’ll mind your phone… COVID has become a partner in crime – it does not cause domestic abuse but it certainly promotes it”.
During the international “16 Days of Action” campaign (November 25-December 10), COPE Galway is publishing “Gillian’s Story” on their digital platforms, walking with Gillian as she wrestles with some tough choices. On the final day, December 10, they launch their Relationship Checklist Poster, which contains some vital questions to ask yourself to determine the health of your relationship. The poster will be available on www.copegalway.ie and is ready to go into all public outlets throughout city and county.
Please visit copegalway.ie/16Days or follow COPE Galway on social media pages for information. #16daysofactivism #16Days #letshelptogether.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or is affected by any of the issues mentioned above, phone COPE Galway Domestic Abuse free and confidential service at 091 56 59 85 (24h).
When you’re ready to talk we’re ready to listen.
Contact Dr Carol Baumann, Manager, COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service, Modh Eile House
Phone (091) 39 48 80 | Direct Dial (091) 39 48 81 | Mobile 085 887 4436
Email email@example.com | copegalway.ie/domestic-abuse-service
COPE Galway Background Information
COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. COPE Galway understands, respects and responds to the needs of people who struggle with the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse and supports older people towards healthy and active ageing.
In 2019, COPE Galway worked with 2,984 vulnerable people in Galway. This included 1,189 adults and 433 children affected by homelessness, (187 families and 868 single people). They also worked with 638 individual women and their children who were experiencing Domestic Abuse, produced and delivered 61,016 meals to older clients and to their services around Galway and worked with 724 older people at risk of isolation. The organisation also supported 2,938 individuals with food from the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD) Programme and distributed over 700 school kits.
COPE Galway’s new strategy for 2020-2025 focuses the organisation on its mission: Making a difference by empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities. COPE Galway places its values – rights, respect, hope, community, safety and professionalism – at the heart of its work in the community.