A Kildare-based domestic abuse refuge said it has seen a major jump in demand for its services during the Covid-19 lockdown — and there may be further increases as restrictions are lifted.
Teach Tearmainn provides free and confidential support services including refuge to women and children who are experiencing domestic abuse in Kildare and West Wicklow.
CEO Lorraine Rowan told the Leinster Leader she has seen a 50% increase in calls to the service since March and requests for refuge have increased by 80% in the past two months.
Lorraine said: “The Covid-19 lockdown and travel restrictions have been extremely difficult for everyone; even those who are in healthy, functioning relationships so can you imagine how difficult it must be for women and children who are in a home that is not safe?
“Covid-19 has had a profound impact on women and children who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse. For many families, the lockdown has meant that they have been confined to their home with the perpetrator.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for these women and children.
“Under normal circumstances, women and children experiencing domestic violence and abuse may find moments of respite from the abuse when they visit friends, go to work or school, or meet with their Support Worker at support services such as Teach Tearmainn. The opportunity to seek such moments of respite have been eliminated as a result of Covid-19.”
Despite the lockdown and restrictions, Teach Tearmainn have remained open to provide vital support services to women and children in Kildare who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
Surveys show that 79% of women in abusive relation-
ships never seek help.
Lorraine added: “While our face to face supports to women and children have been temporarily suspended, we are now operating a 24 hour confidential helpline.
“Calls to our service during Covid have increased by 50% and we are expecting an even bigger surge in calls in the coming months as the restrictions begin to ease.
“Requests for refuge have increased by 80% in the last two months.
“In April alone, Teach Tearmainn had as many women seeking refuge as we had in the first quarter combined."
Teach Tearmainn is open 24 hours per day 7 days a week. The helpline number is 045 52758. Donate at www.teachtearmainn.ie.