Demands on Inishowen’s domestic violence service almost doubled last year, from 470 requests in 2011 to 799. But yesterday Mary Doherty of LIFELINE (Inishowen) Domestic Violence Service said the group was under imminent threat of closure due to lack of funds.
She told the ‘Journal’: “We have no money, we have bills to pay and the demand for our services is increasing rapidly. Something has to give. This is not a case of crying wolf.”
She went on: “The declining economic situation has dramatically worsened the situation. Stress, unemployment, increasing poverty are adding to domestic violence which is as old as history itself. And, of course, public campaigns have raised awareness of the issue, that women should not have to live lives constantly in fear or under threat. This combination has put us under a lot of pressure.”
Ms Doherty said their volunteers were ‘burned out’ spending the time they should be devoting to their main work – helping those in need – on fund raising just to keep going.
“We are not asking for a lot. 50,000 euro, which is a pittance, would keep us afloat. And that’s not asking for any money for any our people. We could do with more but that’s a matter for a different day.
“We are a volunteer service trying to deal with massive demand and we are getting no funding whatsoever from government. And when you consider we are probably saving them hundreds of thousands of euro in counselling and other services that they should be footing the bill for a little reciprocation would be welcome and appreciated.”
Claiming this lack of funding was another ‘clear example of Inishowen being excluded and abandoned’ Ms. Doherty asked: “Do we want to further isolate the women and children of this peninsula who desperately need these services?”
Explaining the rationale for setting up the service in Carndonagh Ms Doherty said the only alternative available for those suffering domestic abuse was in Letterkenny, which was more than 50 miles aawy.
“From working with the women involved in a violent relationship we became aware that distance was a very big problem.
“A major issue was that the women did not want to uproot their children from their own area – from their friends, their school etc – as they felt the children had been through enough traumas in their lives and more disruption was only adding to it.”
She said she was appealing for help ‘from whatever quarter’ it could or would come.
LIFELINE Domestic Violence service is available between 10am and 1.30pm daily Monday to Friday, and their phone number is 07493-73232.