Miriam O’Callaghan supports campaign against domestic violence

Women’s Aid marked the 20th year of its National Freephone Helpline by launching its new ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ public awareness advertising campaign.

Women’s Aid marked the 20th year of its National Freephone Helpline by launching its new ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ public awareness advertising campaign.

The campaign encourages local women living with domestic abuse to speak up and to call the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900.

One in five women in Ireland is affected by domestic abuse but a third of those will never tell anyone what is happening to them.

Women’s Aid hopes that the new campaign will show women that they do not have to suffer domestic abuse in silence. A four week long radio, online and poster national advertising campaign includes a mail out of information packs to professionals who support women affected by domestic abuse and to places where women seek help and information in Tipperary. The special packs include posters, leaflets and other items promoting the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline.

Speaking at the start of the campaign, Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid said: “We understand how difficult it is for women experiencing domestic abuse to talk about what is happening. Many women are afraid that they will not be believed or that they will blamed for the abuse. Others struggle to find the words to describe their situation. All too often, women feel alone and isolated, unaware that help is available or unable to make sense of what is being done to them.”

Ms Martin explained, “It is our sincere hope that through our radio advertising we can speak directly to a woman who is living in fear, and who may be sitting at home, or listening in her car on the way to work or on the school run, and tell her that she is not alone. Like many women who ring our National Freephone Helpline, she may be too upset to talk about what she is going through. Don’t worry. That’s okay. We’re ready to listen and help her find the words she needs.”

Speaking in support of the campaign, leading RTÉ broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan said: “I am delighted to support the Women’s Aid ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ campaign urging women to speak up about domestic abuse. I know women are famous for talking to each other about all that life throws at us but in the case of domestic abuse, many women feel unable to tell even their closest family or friends. Others do not even know how to start to describe the terrible abuse they are suffering. But if any woman is feeling isolated, alone and fearful of their boyfriends, partners or husbands, don’t be afraid to call Women’s Aid. They are there to listen to you and to support you. It is a first step to a safer life.”

Ms Martin agreed: “When a woman rings our Helpline the person on the other end of the line will understand her situation, will not judge her and will not tell her what to do. We will listen and support her and all calls are treated in the strictest confidence.”