‘Still Here’ TV, radio and social media ads relaunched to inform and reassure that help and support continues to be available over the Christmas and New Year
domestic abuse incidents will continue to be prioritised by An Garda Síochána, the Courts and the Legal Aid Board during the pandemic
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has announced that ‘Still Here’, the national awareness campaign on domestic abuse, will be relaunched today.
The Still Here campaign was developed in April 2020 in response to the restrictions on movement imposed by the pandemic. It informs and reassures people that supports and services continue to be available to those at risk or experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence. This message is particularly important over the Christmas period, when reports of domestic abuse can escalate.
Speaking of the campaign, Minister McEntee said:
"Unfortunately, we know that home is not a safe place for all of us.
"I want victims of domestic and sexual abuse to know that they are not on their own, particularly at this time of year. An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and other services, including the vital supports provided by our community and voluntary sector, are still here for you over the Christmas period.
"I am acutely aware the risk for anyone living in an abusive relationship or in fear for their safety increases during these weeks, as does the risk of reduced contact with trusted professionals and service providers.
"I am committed to doing everything I can to continue to inform those at risk that help and support is available. Finally I want perpetrators to know there will be no let-up in our efforts to tackle domestic and sexual violence."
Ministers McEntee has restarted the TV, radio and social media elements of the campaign to remind people of the Still Here message and to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Since the start of the pandemic, and in recognition of the added vulnerability of victims of domestic abuse, An Garda Síochána has attached the highest priority to domestic abuse incidents including through ‘Operation Faoiseamh’.
This is an ongoing initiative designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected. There also continues to be a particular focus on arresting and bringing before the courts those offenders who have breached domestic violence legislation, in particular Court Orders obtained under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 2018.
Minister McEntee added:
"One measure of the success of this initiative was the increase in the number of files relating to domestic abuse going to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution."
The Courts Service continue to prioritise domestic abuse cases, including access for anyone requiring emergency orders. Anyone seeking information should contact their local court office for more information or visit www.courts.ie/domestic-abuse
for contact details and information about various applications that victims of domestic abuse can apply for.
The Legal Aid Board also continues to prioritise domestic abuse cases and all law centres will be open or contactable on the working days over Christmas. Anyone in need of legal advice service should contact their local centre, with more information on www.legalaidboard.ie.
The campaign - which started with two weeks of intensive TV, radio and social media adverts - has continued on the department’s social media platforms throughout the pandemic.
Information on services and supports for victims is available on the campaign website www.stillhere.ie.
The Still Here TV ad shows a woman’s attempt to keep in contact with her friend through a video call being interrupted by her abusive partner. The first radio ad 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 second features a male victim trying to communicate his plight to the emergency services.