Offaly Domestic Violence Support Group records 30pc increase in calls during Covid-19 crisis

Ger Scully

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Ger Scully

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editor@tullamoretribune.ie

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ODVSS has recorded a 30pc increase in calls

THERE has been a 30 per cent increase in calls to the Offaly Domestic Violence Support Group helpline during the Covid-19 emergency.

All around the world domestic violence support services are recording an increase of calls to their services, some over 50 per cent.

Across the water in the UK the rate of domestic violence murders has doubled with over 16 women including children have died since Covid19 lockdown restriction.

Said a statement from Offaly Domestic Violence Support Service: “Men suddenly have not become violent over night because of Covid-19 as domestic abuse has always been there. What we are now getting a glimpse into the levels of abuse women live with every day. While the coronavirus may have brought different pressure into the family home, these pressures are simply a factor of abuse. These pressures alone do not cause a person to be abusive. The perpetrator makes an active choice to instil fear and injury.”

“Women now find themselves in lockdown with their abuser, where they have been walking on eggshells they are now walking on broken glass. Access to supports or escape is now restricted and plans to leave have no being put on hold or abandoned. Victims face distressing situations at home with, intense psychological, mental and physical abuse. The confinement element of the coronavirus is eliminating all possible supports that were previously there for the victim,” said the ODVSS statement.

ODVSS has recorded a 30pc rise in calls to their helpline and have added an additional number in order to make sure no one goes unsupported. The service has gone from five days to seven days during the pandemic.

ODVSS is still support clients via their helplines, and also placed a Chat Box on their website www.odvss.ie. Tullamore Court Services are still hearing Domestic Violence Orders and ODVSS continues to facilitate all court paperwork.

Patterns emerging over the last couple of weeks indicates a rise in teen dating violence, elder abuse, and intimate partner relationship violence. “The severity of the abuse is very worrying “Anne Clarke, Manager of ODVSS. “This is domestic terrorism, the victim is living in fear and isolated, lockdown for the victims is an already enhanced imprisonment” said Ms Clarke

The Department of Justice & Equality launched their #StillHere campaign last week, reassuring victims of abuse that services around the Country were still open and providing support. Manager of ODVSS Chairperson Molly Buckley expressed “These awareness campaign are great and help raise awareness, but we are only giving half a message, the government must ensure that there is a dedicated budget set aside to ensure services can meet the demand, not only under the Covid19 restrictions but the tsunami that will come once restrictions begin to ease”.

ODVSS are asking every home to draw, colour or paint a purple heart and place it in their window to show support to victims of domestic abuse and an end to violence in the home. “The only way we can eliminate violence in the home is a whole of community response” emphasised Ms Buckley. If you are experiencing domestic abuse call 0860419154 or 0579351886, ChatBox www.odvss.ie you can also find ODVSS on all social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In an emergency call 999.