WATCH Laois TD and Justice Minister launches campaign to tackle domestic violence during Covid-19 emergency

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

A new campaign is underway aimed at tackling domestic violence by seeking to reassure victims that services are still here and that victims are being prioritised during the Covid-19 measures is underway.

A new ad campaign has been developed by the Department of Justice and Equality who collaborated with frontline services.  The Department of Justice says the ads depict the reality for victims of domestic abuse when their home is no longer a safe place.  

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan spoke as the campaign got underway on Wednesday, April 15.

“We would all like if these scenarios were fictitious or exaggerated but sadly, they aren’t. They conjure up a strong sense of the victims feeling trapped. The very place we have all been sent for safety because of COVID-19 – ‘home’ - is anything but safe for some people, and these ads recognise that. However, It is vital that victims realise that services are still there and the law is on their side.’

Minister Flanagan continued: “I also want to say, unequivocally, to all abusers that the rigors of the law are also ‘still here’.  There is nowhere for perpetrators to hide. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has made the point on a number of occasions recently that Gardaí are prioritising domestic abuse.  The same is the case for the entire civil and criminal justice system. We stand together with our NGO partners in our support for victims of domestic and sexual violence during this difficult period.

The Department has provided an additional allocation of over €160,000 to community and voluntary groups to support their work and is also funding the making and airing of the ad.

The radio ads begin to air today (Wednesday, April 15) while the TV ads air from tomorrow (Thursday, April 16).

One of the radio ads depicts a mother trying to reassure her child that their effort to hide from their abuser is just a game of ‘Hide and Seek’ while the other features a male victim trying to communicate his plight to the emergency services. 

The TV ad meanwhile portrays a woman’s attempt to keep in contact with her friend through a video call being interrupted by her abusive partner.

Acknowledging their speedy production in the midst of restrictions, Minister Flanagan continued:

“I would like to thank production company TBWA for being so responsive and for delivering in such restrictive circumstances.  It is somewhat ironic that they were able to call on two actors who live happily together to play the parts of victim and abuser in all three ads and to shoot the TV one, under lockdown, in their own sitting room”

The ads carry the message to victims that services are still available despite the COVID-19 emergency.  However, Minister of State David Stanton made the point that they can also fulfil another function:

“I hope these ads will serve as a reminder to those of us who do feel safe at home to check in on any friends or relations who we have even the smallest worry about.  We need to tell them that we are still here for them.”

Information on services and supports for victims is available on a new website www.stillhere.ie

For persons experiencing domestic violence: 

In an emergency, any person can call An Garda Síochána on 999 or 112.

Helplines and other resources

Legal Aid Board Helpline 1890 615 200 or 01 646 9600

Women’s Aid Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900

Male Domestic Abuse Advice Line 1800 816 588

Rape Crisis Centre National Helpline 1800 77 8888

 Men’s Aid Ireland       01 554 3811