Saoirse Women’s Refuge (Tallaght)
After 12 tireless years work we attained our goal of opening a refuge in Tallaght for women and children escaping violence at home – a crucial service considering there are only three other refuges currently open in Dublin. We endured and overcome many obstacles and struggles over the years which brought us closer together and strengthened our determination to reach our goal. In 2005 we secured premises with the help of South Dublin County Council to adapt for use as a women and children’s refuge. With the financial assistance of the HSE, our Refuge Manager and staff were recruited in 2006.
Saoirse Women’s Refuge officially opened in December 2006 and we now provide short term crisis accommodation and 24 hour support for up to six families as well as a 24 hour helpline service (01-4630000) for those who may need someone to talk to but not refuge. Since opening in 2006, we have supported over 800 families in refuge and through outreach as well as over 4000 support calls to our helpline. Our aim is to provide a safe, comfortable and confidential space for women and children experiencing domestic violence to seek support around their options. We are open to referrals from all of Ireland and all sectors of Irish Society. Our focus is on empowering the women who contact us and we work from the ethos that they know best for themselves and their children. Our refuge also provides a playroom and qualified Childcare staff to work therapeutically with the resident children and their mothers. In addition we have an Outreach Service for families in the community as well as post refuge support and court accompaniment support.
Our mission is to address and combat the crime of domestic abuse by providing a safe, supportive and confidential environment through our refuge accommodation, helpline and outreach service for women and children experiencing this crime every day in Irish society.
We also address the preventative model by working with an array of other agencies linked with families at risk and by providing information sessions to professionals / groups, as well as talks to schools and youth groups around healthy relationships.
We work according to the following values and principles:
- No person should ever have to experience the torture of being abused by a ‘loved one’ or be alone in carrying the burden of blame, shame and judgement.
- Domestic abuse is a serious and life destroying crime that the sufferer is never responsible for. Nobody deserves to be abused.
- To never judge our clients or believe we know what’s best for the client – only they know the reality of their abuse.
- In the first instance, we listen, hear, believe and respect those who contact us for help.
- You do not have to have a black eye or physical injuries to be suffering domestic abuse. It takes many forms including sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse.
- It is an unequal balance of power and control that an individual holds over another in any intimate relationship, whether it is husband and wife, same sex partners or adult children and an elder parent.
- It occurs in all walks of life – all classes, creeds, ages and races.
- The misuse of alcohol and drugs do not cause the perpetrator to abuse – these are used as excuses for their behaviour and reasons to avoid taking responsibility.
- Early interventions with young people around healthy positive relationships are key to tackling domestic violence and breaking the cycle of abuse for future generations.
The increasing number of requests for refuge accommodation with 464 families turned away in 2011, can be indicatively linked to the crisis in the Irish economy with increasing unemployment, financial stress, personal debt, increasing mental health issues and addictions all contributing to the escalation of domestic stress and abuse. The experience of 2012 shows a very similar picture with no let up in demand on services nationally while core state funding continues to be detrimentally cut.
24hour Helpline 01-4630000