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WATCH: Safe Ireland launches powerful film highlighting domestic violence


By Jennifer McShane
06th Jan 2021
WATCH: Safe Ireland launches powerful film highlighting domestic violence

It’s Women’s Little Christmas today, otherwise known as Nollaig na mBan, and to mark it, Safe Ireland, the national agency working with 39 domestic violence services across the country, has partnered with the Herstory movement and film director Marion Bergin to produce a powerful short film Woman and Child with s campaign to highlight the horrors of domestic abuse and to empower women


It’s impactful but chilling to watch; depicting the harrowing impact of a woman and child living with coercive control and abuse.

“Coercive control is a crime. It is a persistent and deliberate pattern of behaviour by an abuser over a prolonged period of time designed to achieve obedience and fear. It does not have to be physical to be domestic abuse,” said SafeIreland.

Coercive control is all about making a woman’s world smaller – trapping her, restricting her independence and freedom. A controlling partner may shut out her 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, as depicted in the film.

The abuser says all the right ‘things,’ but his actions means the words take on a twisted meaning, keeping the woman and child as ‘his’ and under total control.

Empowerment and awareness 

The darkness of the film is complemented with a standout Herstory light show which took place this evening, illuminating landmark buildings like the GPO and Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin with images that celebrate the diversity, strength, autonomy and resilience of women in Ireland today, and aims to help give women more confidence and courage to leave their abuser.

The light show featured images from the award-winning photographer Ellen McDermott, a dynamic new photographic series by photographer Myriam Riand and conceptual artist Áine O’Brien, more of which can be seen on the SafeIreland website.

The short film and campaign comes after 2020 saw thousands of women contact domestic support services with an increase of 25% in calls to helplines.

Watch and share the short film below:

Domestic abuse resources and support numbers

There are many resources available for victims of domestic abuse.

The Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline is available 24/7 on 1-800-341-900. The National Helpline is a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space to talk through what is happening at home and get practical support, including emergency safe accommodation.

The Women’s Aid website also has helpful information available on detecting warning signs, what to do if you need help or if you are in immediate danger.

Men’s Aid Ireland is a service for men who are experiencing domestic violence. You can call them on 01-554-3811 or email [email protected]. Their helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

Other resources available include:

Women’s Aid Coercive Control guide: https://bit.ly/2RlbS0l

Safe Ireland guide: https://bit.ly/2TvdnMa

Aoibhneas is a women and children’s refuge. You can contact them 24 hours a day on 01 867 0701 or email [email protected].

Childline is a confidential support service for children and young people. They take calls about a wide range of difficulties, including abuse. You can contact them 24 hours a day on 1800 666 666. You can also text ‘Talk’ to 50101.

If you are in immediate danger contact the Gardaí or call 999.

Main image via @HerstoryIreland


Read more: Coercive control: 10 warning signs and where to go for help

Read more: ‘We’ve been trapped inside our homes and our heads since March’ — the looming mental health crisis and what we can do to tackle it