Local gardaí are backing Go Purple Day (April 23), a national day of fundraising and awareness for local domestic violence services, including Amber Women’s Refuge in Kilkenny.
People, businesses and schools are also being encouraged to wear purple, bake purple, grow purple, paint purple - whatever they like - to show their support and fundraise for their local domestic violence service.
“For over a year now, we have all been working under enormous pressure to respond to those fleeing domestic abuse,” said Lisa Morris, manager of Amber Women’s Refuge.
“In Ireland, and across the globe, incidences of domestic and sexual violence have risen significantly since the start of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns. We are very clear that Covid-19 does not cause domestic and sexual violence, it has exposed it.
“But, this epidemic has also exposed an outpouring of communal empathy for those living with control and abuse in their homes that we have perhaps not seen before,” she continued.
“We hope that this Go Purple Day will give people another easy, fun way to continue to support our work in keeping women and children safe here in Kilkenny.”
Amber is one of the 39 frontline service members of Safe Ireland across the country. To donate, go to the donate now button at www.amberwomensrefuge.ie. All funds raised in Kilkenny will go to the local service.
The dedicated day was originally initiated by members of An Garda Síochána in Meath. It has now grown into a wider national day of awareness in partnership with Safe Ireland, the national agency working to create safety for women and children, and Men’s Aid.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the numbers looking for support from a domestic violence service. According to Safe Ireland’s Tracking the Shadow Pandemic Reports, over 2,000 women and over 500 children on average, received support from a domestic violence service each month from March to December 2020. In that same time, over 57,000 helpline calls were answered nationally.
An Garda Síochána has prioritised support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence with Operation Faoiseamh throughout Covid-19 and Amber has welcomed the force’s continued focus on this issue.
Amber Women’s Refuge have also recently created a powerful video - Domestic Abuse Is Real which highlights the various different forms of abuse.
“As a refuge, we see women that have made the extremely brave decision to come to us,” added Ms Morris. “When they arrive, they are usually terrified and feeling very vulnerable. We realise that the general public do not see this, thus we were compelled to get the message across that Domestic Abuse Is Real.
“Sometimes, when we don't see issues like these on a daily basis, we turn a blind eye to them — forgetting that one in four women are living the life depicted in our video.
“We chose this artistic interpretation as it is a universal medium that powerfully demonstrates a reality for too many. The reaction has been extremely positive with many people encouraging their network to share. Each share, like, comment and direct message is a sign of solidarity against Domestic Abuse.”
For more see www.amberwomensrefuge.ie
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