Ireland’s eye: Happenings around the Auld Sod
This week's stories from around the counties: Violence among women up in recession, government helps teenagers deal with depression, but teenage drinking on the rise, and Sligo hoteliers need help as tourist numbers down...
Violence against women
The downturn in the economy is having an extreme effect on women in Donegal, with the Donegal Women's Domestic Violence Service (DWDVS) recording a staggering 30% increase in calls to their outreach service and helpline during the first quarter of this year.
Last year, 31 families in dire need of shelter were turned away from this refuge due to the lack of space.
Manager of the DWDVS Fiona Doherty said, "We are seeing an increase in women stating emotional and financial abuse since the recession with increasing unemployment, mortgage problems or delays with social welfare payments, for example.
“Women are trapped in relationships because they can't find a job or because they can't sell their homes. This means that domestic violence services here in Donegal are under more pressure to ensure that women and children are safe and can make vital changes to their lives."
Doherty stated that "emotional, financial and sexual abuse within relationships are as damaging as physical abuse and can be harder to prove.”
Presently the refuge in Letterkenny is full to capacity. An application has been made by the service for a larger multi-purpose center with self-contained units that could better accommodate more families, and they are hopeful that their application will be successful.
"At times you can have two women with their children sharing a kitchen, a bathroom and living areas with no privacy," Doherty said.
“There is a real need for this facility. I hope that in 2010 that the DWDVS will be able to continue to sustain the current level of service provision, as any cuts to the core funding will impact directly on women and children accessing the service."
Finola Brennan of the Donegal Women's Network echoed these sentiments.
"The impact that the proposed 60% cut on the national community development program could have an immense impact on services to women in this county. This is very much a grass-roots organization where women tend to go to first when seeking help in an indirect way."
Coping With Depression
The government should start a campaign to discourage teenagers from texting and using the Internet, and encourage them instead to meet and chat about life, according to a Limerick city priest.
"I have found that so many young people are addicted to texting and also spend so much time on the Internet. It is not healthy," said Father Joe Young.
Young is one of thousands of people in Limerick who has suffered from depression, and has made a vow to try and get rid of the stigma associated with the illness before he ends his ministry.
"I would love to get a house in Limerick where young people, and the not so young people, could meet for a chat. You would be surprised what you could solve over a cup of coffee," said the Limerick cleric.
He said that while one in four people suffer from depression, there as still a stigma attached to it.
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