Local domestic abuse services are continuing to report a surge in requests for help as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The increase in public awareness through campaigns such as #StillHere, RTE Comic Relief and the Irish Women in Harmony video has had the positive impact of encouraging women to leave domestic abuse situations. Of course, this puts considerable pressure on already strained services.
CRiTiCALL Louth launched by Louth Volunteer Centre at the beginning of July is a partnership between the Volunteer Centre, Safe Ireland (Women’s Aid Dundalk) and Scouting Ireland Louth. It is the local branch of an initiative originally started in Dublin by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The aim of CRiTiCALL in Louth is to support women and children in the area by facilitating the donation of critical goods to those that need it most. Their first donation drive took place on Saturday 11th July and was enormously successful with the generosity of people in Dundakl really shining through.
Gráinne Berrill, Manager of Louth Volunteer Centre says: “We were unsure how things would go on our first collection day but we were blown away by people’s generosity and willingness to give their time to this cause. We were also delighted that we were able to take the burden off the Women’s Refuge team as they tell our team what their clients need, such as bedding or other household items; we communicate this to volunteers who collect those items. Our partners St. Patrick’s Scouts check over the donations and pack them in accordance with the needs of Refuge clients; so women who have taken the brave step of leaving an abusive situation get what they exactly what they need.”
Gráinne went on to say: “Financial coercion is a big issue in abuse; the person who leaves the home often does so with nothing and no access to money so unfortunately there is a continuous need to provide practical, basic items for these women and their families”. The CRiTiCALL team are holding their next collection day on Saturday 8th August. This donation drive will be very focused on back to school but they have also received a number of specific requests from Women’s Aid Dundalk for other items that they need, including electrical goods such as kettle, TV and more.