Significant increase in domestic abuse recorded in Galway

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galway daily news domestic abuse charity records highest number of clients in galway

A local charity supporting women impacted by domestic abuse recorded the highest number of clients in its 24-year history last year.

Domestic Violence Response Galway (DVR) also recorded its highest level of counselling support sessions in 2021.

The organisation published its 2021 annual report at the launch of its new premises and expanded services in Moycullen today, Monday.

Key findings from the 2021 annual report highlighted the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the organisation, as well as the women it supports.

A total of 266 service users availed of the services in 2021, with a significant increase in return service users in the latter part of the year.

Fifty-one nights of accommodation were provided in Galway from late June 2020 to December 2021 via a scheme which saw Airbnb partner with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to provide free hotel emergency accommodation for domestic violence survivors across Ireland.

The charity provided 1,449 support sessions to service users in 2021.

In early summer 2021, the restrictions began to lift and the disclosures of service users, mostly from women but also some men availing of telephone support, were stark and harrowing.

According to DVR staff, women disclosed how Covid-19 restrictions were used as a tactic to inflict further control, to enforce isolation, to impose strict and excessive cleaning routines, and punishments for putting the family at risk.

A significant increase in disclosures on sexual abuse was also noted by staff during this period.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said that the annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway.

“Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history, and delivered the highest number of support services,” she said.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.”

Elizabeth Power said that while Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

New premises in Moycullen

DVR Galway’s new premises in Moycullen was launched by Galway West TD Catherine Connolly. The new premises, accompanied by recent recruitment of new staff and expansion of the Board of Directors, represents the start of a new era for DVR, allowing the organisation to expand its services to people throughout Galway city and county.

“We’re delighted to be launching our new premises in Moycullen today, which will ensure that people the length and breadth of Galway experiencing or at risk of domestic violence will receive the support they need,” added Ms Power.

For more information about DVR Galway, visit: www.domesticviolenceresponse.com.