WOMEN suffering from domestic abuse across Limerick are being urged to reach out for help this Christmas, by the domestic abuse charity Adapt.
Based in the city, the organisation witnesses a spike in calls from those fleeing domestic abuse immediately after Christmas day each year.
Within the past year, Adapt has worked with over 760 women who seek refuge for themselves and their children in its crisis accommodation, as well as availing of ongoing support and counselling.
Jess Angland, training and development co-ordinator with Adapt, said domestic abuse is still “very much hidden in Ireland”.
As part of the 16 days of action against violence against women, they sought to make men a part of the campaign to help break the cycle of abuse, and to show that “real men don’t abuse women”.
“The message we want to send out to women is don’t deal with it alone. Just seek help. Nobody is going to force you to do anything, just don’t deal with it alone - access the services available, rather than spending years trying to deal with it yourself,” she urged.
“Christmas is meant to be one of the happiest times of the year for people, but unfortunately for our clients, the reality is that it’s not. It can be a very lonely and difficult time.”
She said even after they leave an abusive partner, 67% of women continue to suffer from post-separation abuse.
“The question is always asked ‘why don’t they leave?’, rather than ‘why do men do it?” she pointed out.
Adapt is continuing to run an outreach service in county Limerick, with clinics and support groups in Newcastle West and Kilmallock.
Last year Adapt supported 420 women, had 211 admissions to the refuge and supported over 300 children. The women who seek their services are aged from 18 to 70, and are from all social and economic backgrounds. One in five women in Ireland will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives; 186 women have died violently in Ireland, including 115 in their own homes, since 1996. Freephone 1800 200 504.