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Clare Haven Services shine a light on violence against women

CLARE Haven Services are continuing to shine a light on violence against women having launched a very special virtual candlelit remembrance.
Despite Covid-19 the local organisation is currently marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This annual international campaign running from November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until December 10, Human Rights Day aims to raise awareness and to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
Clare Haven’s annual candle-lit walk through the streets of Ennis remembering women and children killed by partners or ex-partners is not possible due to Covid-19. However, Clare Haven Services have joined forces with artist Emma Houlihan, Clare County Library and An Garda Siochana in developing a virtual lighted walk.
Dr Siobhán O’Connor, Manager of Services, Clare Haven Services explains, “For the last 12 years, to remember the women who have been killed in County Clare by their partners or ex-partners, Clare Haven Services hosted a candlelight walk. This was a sombre, reflective walk from the Garda Station to the Court House in Ennis to think about the lights extinguished when the women we remember were killed.
“With current Covid restriction of gatherings, and being mindful of social distancing, we are doing a virtual candlelight walk. This year we cannot invite the wide community to the light, but Clare Haven Services, in partnership with Clare County Library, An Garda Sίochάna, artist Emma Houlihan, are bringing the light to the community. Starting in the Garda Station, make your way to Merchant’s Square then out to the Clare Haven Offices at Clare Abbey Roundabout. From there take a left to the libraries in Ennistymon, Kilkee, Kilrush, Scariff, Killaloe and Shannon where all along you will see a candle or a lit-up tree. This is the whole county paying their respects and remembering the lives of the women and children killed.”
She continues, “Each year we look at a different theme to see can we address the cycle of violence against women that exists in Clare society. An issue that we are looking at this year is, like those candles and lit up trees, there are so many women and children trapped in lock-down with abusers. Their light may have been dimmed behind the glass but it can be reignited. The Covid 19 pandemic has exacerbated their situation but we shine a light to them to show them the pathway out. Clare Haven is available 24 hours a day on 0656822435.
“Whatever the myriad of reasons and complexity of life as to why domestic violence and abuse is so prevalent in our society, Clare Haven Services, with the generous support of the people of Clare, are committed to working with the women, children and the community at large to alleviate and support those affected while campaigning to bring it to an end. We support our colleagues in Safe Ireland, daring to imagine that we can rear a generation without exposure to violence and abuse. A generation that is free to live in safe, vibrant and equal homes and communities. The 11 agencies in the Clare Local Area Network on Violence Against Women is still here and available now more than ever for women, children or concerned individuals to reach out, and allow us to reach in to offer information support and a safety net.”
Clare Haven Services works to: protect women and children who are already experiencing abuse and violence in the home by providing frontline services such as refuge, outreach support and advocacy in the legal and judicial systems;  prevent it happening to future women and children through public awareness and education and provide interventions by delivering resilience programmes, interagency collaboration and relevant counselling services.
“We could not do this work without our statutory and other funders, but more particularly without the generous donations of the people from the county which are crucial to us to keep our doors open. For this we are very grateful,” she concludes.

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