Public meeting to ‘save our Lifeline’

Lifeline Inishowen offers support to women and children in Inishowen affected by domestic violence.
Lifeline Inishowen offers support to women and children in Inishowen affected by domestic violence.

The people of Inishowen are being asked to show their support to the only peninsula-based domestic violence service at a public meeting in Carndonagh this Thursday.

Lifeline Inishowen will be forced to close in January if it does not receive funding.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency will not fund the service as they state that domestic violence services in Inishowen are being provided by the Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service, which operates outreach services in the peninsula.

However, manager of Lifeline Inishowen Mary Doherty said this does not and could not meet the need.

She added that while the Donegal Domestic Violence Service is undertaking great work, Inishowen needs its own service.

She said that not only does Lifeline provide a listening ear, a drop-in service, helpline, support, advocacy, court accompaniment, advice and more, they also offer counselling for children (which is funded) and for women, as well as raising awareness of domestic violence to the younger generations in schools.

She said: “We’re holding this meeting as we want to see if the public want this service to go on. We do hope everyone will come out in support and help us lobby for the future of the service. If we cease, there won’t be the same level of service in Inishowen that’s been available for the last 20 years. We hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Tusla told the ‘Journal’ it has been tasked with “improving outcomes and wellbeing for those requiring services provided or funded by the Agency.”

A spokesperson said: “In this regard, the Agency must ensure that it makes the most efficient use of its resources in a way that is efficient, equitable, proportionate and sustainable. Tusla’s key priority is to ensure that the needs of victims of domestic violence are being met in the best way possible. For this reason, the 2015 budget is being directed towards frontline services and work towards ensuring that no potential service user is disadvantaged because of geography.”

They added they fund Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service which, as part of their service arrangement, currently operate outreach services in Inishowen and “makes efforts to ensure flexibility in outreach service delivery so that women and families in Donegal who are unable to visit the service in Letterkenny can be met by trained workers in a range of locations that are accessible, convenient and safe for them. Future planning for Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence services will seek to address gaps, avoid duplication and support effective delivery of frontline services nationally.”