Minding Your Mental Health

Domestic violence has serious impact on mental health

Reporter

Reporter:

Reporter

 Domestic violence has serious impact on mental health

If you want to support someone because you know or suspect they are experiencing domestic violence contact DVAS

The DVAS (Domestic Violence Advocacy Service) has experienced a “very significant” demand on their services.
During the early weeks of the Covid-19 restrictions in March and April people right across Ireland really began to focus on what HOME means for us.
This situation of being “stuck at home” caused many of us to consider just how dreadful domestic abuse is.
Covid-19 restrictions have shone a light on our homes, whether they are places of peace and safety, fun and business, creativity and chaos or indeed filled with tension and threat due to the presence of coercive control.
Domestic violence and coercive control is a persistent and deliberate pattern of behaviour by an abuser over a prolonged period of time designed to achieve obedience and create fear.
This behaviour may include coercion, threats, stalking, intimidation, isolation, degradation and control. It may also include physical violence or sexual violence.
All of this has a serious impact on mental and physical wellbeing.
No one deserves this. Support is here.
Domestic abuse and coercive control are all about making a woman’s world smaller – trapping her, restricting her independence and freedom. Its impact can often make a woman doubt herself and her judgement. It is not her imagination. It is not acceptable.
Manager of DVAS Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan, Carmel McNamee said at the start of lockdown the phone lines were “eerily quiet” but they saw helpline calls double in May, June and July.
Throughout the pandemic DVAS has worked closely with the other 38 domestic violence services through its engagement with Safe Ireland, the national change agency on domestic violence.
The service is a free, confidential support, information and advocacy service for women in controlling, abusive relationships. During this Covid-19 pandemic the service is phone-based and offers women time and space with a dedicated member of our experienced support team.
DVAS support sessions give women the opportunity to talk through their options, receive information, supporting women to make decisions about their future, enabling women to identify risks and, where necessary, carry out safety planning. During a support call, women can talk about their situation, get emotional support, share information and discuss options. DVAS support workers are trained to focus on women’s safety and well-being.
Many women who contact the service are not sure what they want to do so it is important to know that DVAS support workers will not put pressure on anyone to make a decision. Women accessing DVAS can take as much time as they need and can have sessions for as long as they feel need support from DVAS.
For more information go to our website www.dometicviolence.ie or visit the website of Safe Ireland, the National Change agency working to eliminate domestic violence at www.safeireland.ie where you can access their excellent resources of publications, information, videos and contacts for DV services right across the country.
A controlling partner may shut out a woman’s friends and family, control her movements, micro-manage what she eats or wears, restrict her access to money – all the time chipping away at her confidence and destroying her self-respect
DVAS provides information and guidance to people in our community who are concerned about a family member, a neighbour, a friend. If you want to support someone because you know or suspect they are experiencing domestic violence please contact us in confidence by ringing 071-9141515 from Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, emailing support@dvas.ie or sending an non-traceable message via our website www.domesticviolence.ie.
If you are concerned about your relationship have a look at the list below, if you tick even ONE of the checklist, you could be in an abusive relationship.

Does Your Partner:
Humiliate you with verbal abuse and put downs?
Control what you do?
Stop you from talking to friends or family?
Make you account for money you spend?
Prevent you from getting a job?
Abuse you in front of your children?
Act like the abuse is no big deal, blame you or deny doing it?
Destroy your property or threaten your pets?
Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
Shove, slap or hit you or your children?
Insist you have sex when you don’t want to, or insist you do things you are not comfortable with?
Unfairly accuse you of being unfaithful?
Threaten to commit suicide or threaten to kill you if you leave?