Clare Haven Services plans to mark 16 Days of Action on Violence Against Women over the coming weeks. The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an annual international campaign which started on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until Human Rights Day on December 10. The United Nations have recognised violence against woman and girls as a very specific violence globally, and Clare Haven Services is opening up the initiative with this concept in mind.
Because domestic abuse continues to happen unabated in the county, Clare Haven Services is aiming to raise awareness and call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The organisation works to protect women and children who are already being subjected to abuse and violence in the home by providing frontline services such as refuge, outreach support and advocacy in the legal and judicial systems.
It also works to prevent it happening to future women and children through public awareness and education, and provides interventions by delivering resilience programmes, inter-agency collaboration and relevant counselling services. Clare Haven Services also supports young people and children by working on intervention, education and prevention.
Clare Haven Services opened their ‘16 Days’ initiative on Monday of this week by launching their new website and photography exhibition developed by Ennis-based photographer, Paul Corey with the young people’s groups Clare Haven Services facilitates.
The young people who have worked with Mr Corey range in age from 11 to 16, and have identified and created images that mean something to them as they survived in a home with domestic abuse which is a part of their lives but not their entire lives.
“The exuberance and the talent we have here is going to be amazing,” according to Manager of Services at Clare Haven, Dr Siobhan O’Connor. She added the exhibition is very important to them as it is all about their young people.
On Friday, December 1 at 11am, at the County Council Building on New Road, Clare Haven Services and its partners in the Clare Local Area Network on Violence Against Women which is made up of 18 agencies who work together to address gender based violence, will be launching a coercive control public awareness campaign to help people know what it is and how to get support.
A candlelight walk to remember the women who have been killed in county Clare by their partners or ex-partners will take place on Tuesday, December 5. For the last 15 years, Clare Haven Services has hosted a remembrance event. This is a sombre, reflective walk to think about the lights extinguished when the women remembered were killed.
Congregating at Ennis Garda Station at 6.15pm to depart at 6.30pm for the Ennis Court House, the walk is in partnership with An Garda Siochána and the Court Services.
Then on Wednesday, December 6 at 10.30am, Clare Haven Services will partner with Barnardos to launch ‘Empower Kidz (West): The Kids Coercive Control Web’ at Hotel Woodstock. This is a resource developed by children and young people to explain their experience of living with, and being subjected to domestic abuse and what it looks like to them. There are currently up to 11 children in the county who are working on this resource.
Each year, there is a different theme to help address the cycle of violence against women that exists in Clare society, and this year’s theme is peace. Clare Haven Services believes Irish society can be rid of domestic abuse if peace is instilled in this turbulent and violent world, and encourages civic society to unite and rid communities of fear and pain so we can all live in peace.
Throughout the county, in collaboration with Clare County Library Service there will be information stands to assist members of the public to meet staff, receive information and have a chat about the work Clare Haven Services do. The libraries in Ennistymon, Shannon, Killaloe, Scariff, Ennis, Kilrush, Kilkee will have displays of relevant books and other resources for people to browse.
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.
Clare Haven Services is available 24 hours a day on 065 68 22435 for individuals to reach out, for information, support, and a safety net.
Sharon Dolan D'Arcy
Sharon Dolan D'Arcy is originally from Ennis. Her work as a print journalist has appeared in a number of regional publications. She worked as court reporter at The Sligo Weekender newspaper and is a former editor of The Athenry News and Views. She covers West Clare news.