The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual global campaign that runs from today, November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until December 10 (Human Rights Day).
This year, Women’s Aid’s 16 Days of Action campaign will raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse in Irish society.
Two of the core focuses of the campaign this year are how domestic abuse impacts women during pregnancy, and how employers can lead in addressing domestic abuse as a workplace issue.
On November 24, Women’s Aid hosted a webinar as it officially launched a new online resource hub (www.DVatWork.ie) for employers to support the implementation of Statutory Domestic Violence Leave, which commenced on November 27.
Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid says: “Addressing domestic violence as an employer reduces the risk of victim-survivors giving up work, provides increased financial security and shows solidarity and support at a time when they may feel completely isolated and alone.
“Domestic violence and abuse is a workplace issue. That might seem like an odd thing to say about something that most consider belonging in the realm of personal relationships, but the reality is that domestic abuse tactics and impacts extend far beyond the home and into all aspects of victim-survivors’ lives. Issues of coercive control and economic abuse can be linked directly to work, when we think about the consequences of someone being pressured or coerced to give up employment and their economic freedom by an abusive partner.”
Also during the 16 Days of Activism 2023, Women’s Aid and its partners on the Maternity Project are running an awareness campaign in maternity hospitals and units across the country.
The Maternity Project is a partnership between Women’s Aid and four maternity hospitals: Ireland South Women and Infants Directorate (primarily Cork University Maternity Hospital), and The National Maternity Hospital, the Rotunda, and the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.
The project is co-creating a bespoke training course for maternity staff including midwives, social workers, and obstetricians from the four maternity hospitals and from some elected regional maternity units.
A dedicated Women’s Aid domestic abuse support worker is assigned to the three Dublin maternity hospitals and receives referrals directly from these hospitals.
The project partners have also designed unique pregnancy and domestic abuse resources for use by the four leading hospitals and their regional counterparts.
The three-year pilot project is hoped to enhance the maternity hospitals’ response to domestic abuse through a jointly-created training, awareness and referral programme.
The 16 Days of Action Maternity Project awareness campaign features information stands and awareness posters for patients and staff in the maternity hospitals, with the materials to remain on display during the rest of the year. It also includes a social media awareness campaign.