Our Domestic Abuse Service

 In 2020 COPE Galway supported

 603

WOMEN & THEIR CHILDREN

79 Women

Admitted to refuge
with 84 children

1,104

Outreach Appointments
(203 Outreach Clients)

116

Court Appointments
for 109 people

129

Play Therapy Sessions
for 8 Children

A New Home 

2020 was a year of incredible change – aside from the challenge of the pandemic, it was also the year which saw us leave Waterside House, our home for 39 years, and take up residence at Modh Eile House. The move was something that could never have happened without the support of our community – our statutory funders, Galway City Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; our philanthropic funders including The Lifes2Good Foundation and many private donors; and the support of so many community partners – individuals, families, workplaces and small and large businesses – all helped in ways great and small. You may remember COPE Galway speaking about the need for a
new building for this vital service as far back as 2010 – the effort to get here has been monumental – but what a change!

Modh Eile House (the name meaning ‘another way’ and chosen by women who have used the Service) is without doubt a national leader in domestic abuse support. Our refuge facilities provide women and children with nine self-contained apartments, fully furnished, comfortable and warm and most of all, welcoming and safe.

“They didn’t tell me to leave my relationship, which I think is really important because when someone is being controlled by a partner, they don’t need to be more controlled by other sources. I didn’t need someone else telling me that they knew what was best for me, that would have felt like more control. What someone who is being abused needs is to have the courage to trust themselves and so that was very important.”

Kate, a native New Zealander who married an Irishman and moved to Ireland.

Responsiveness, Adaptability and Collaboration during Covid-19

At the onset of the pandemic, we adapted quickly and effectively. We reviewed and revised all our processes, holding two goals in mind – that the service would continue to operate, come what may, and that we would do everything in our power to ensure no infection entered the service. It is great to say we achieved both – the service did not falter and no infection was reported among our staff or those using our service.

“Covid-19 limited the opportunity for the usual spontaneity, merry-making and mingling among the staff and our women. Our women guests usually meet in groups, supporting each other through difficult times, exchanging advice on coping skills, tips on useful services and resources or recipes and stories. Coming together promotes mutual healing and assists in moving forward with their lives. Many friendships are forged that continue to flourish after leaving the refuge. We are eager to create a happy atmosphere to counter-balance the seriousness and sense of loneliness which usually accompanies a woman’s admission to refuge. During restrictions, while we conducted the nuts and bolts of key working, court preparation, and support for the women, we all keenly felt the loss of the joy inherent to physical interactions.”

 Key Worker at Modh Eile House.

Community Outreach and Engagement during Covid-19

Our main concern was our clients and the impact it was having on them. While we worked from home we thought about them possibly having to do the same. Trapped and suffocated, we were acutely aware that these women’s worlds and windows of freedom had unfortunately gotten much smaller.

With the easing of restrictions, we welcomed getting to see our clients again albeit in more structured way. Social distancing, hand hygiene and the wearing of masks have become second nature and a small price to pay for getting to support women when they need us most.

“I am extremely proud of how our service faced the challenge of Covid-19 and how we adapted so that we could continue to provide an important and essential service to extremely resilient, courageous and strong women.” 

Outreach Worker, COPE Galway Domestic Abuse Service 

Working with Women and Children during a Pandemic 

From the beginning, we were very much aware that women and children experiencing domestic abuse would need our service more than ever during this pandemic. These women and children already live in a permanent state of lockdown conditions, with many restrictions placed on their daily lives as a result of abuse perpetrated by their partners. 

With the easing of restrictions, we welcomed getting to see our clients again albeit in more structured way. Social distancing, hand hygiene and the wearing of masks have become second nature and a small price to pay for getting to support women when they need us most. 

“During Covid-19 restrictions, while the staff settled in to our new home at Modh Eile House, we soon missed the dynamics of a refuge full of diverse women and children, all rubbing shoulders together, and bringing their own brand of healing to the table”.

Key Worker, Modh Eile House

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