The Dublin Crisis Centre (DRCC) has launched a new webchat service for those who are seeking help but may not have space to have a phone conversation discreetly.
The new DRCC webchat service allows you to chat online anonymously and confidentially, one to one, with a DRCC support worker.
Working similarly to other instant messaging services and online chat systems, the service can help you to access:
- Confidential support from a trained support specialist
- Resources that can help you towards healing and recovery
- Information about a range of issues, including longer-term supports and referral.
Citing the 2019 statistic that approximately 20% of the centre’s clients reporting abuse as adults had suffered at the hands of intimate partners, ex-partners or people they were dating, DRCC CEO Noeline Blackwell said 2020 may mark a turn for the worse.
“We were lucky enough to be able to maintain full service throughout lockdown and we know this meant a lot to the people we support,” she said.
“Victims of sexual violence are telling us about high levels of anger among abusers. Unfortunately, the safest place for an abuser to vent that anger is in the home, on those nearest to them, with less fear of consequences,” she explained.
Over lockdown, the number of people contacting the helpline was lower than expected as those who needed the service felt they did not have adequate privacy or mental or physical space to call. However, since restrictions have eased, there has been a “significant surge in demand" according to the CEO, despite funds seeing a drop due to the pandemic.
“Our difficulty is that our public fundraising has fallen off a cliff,” she said.
“Our normal cycle of fundraising events is at a standstill since March 2020 following COVID-19 restrictions. We are glad that both the Department of Justice and Tusla recognised sexual violence support services as priority services and continued their support for 2020.
“However, we are highlighting now that as restrictions have eased, there has been a significant surge in demand, putting our services under unprecedented pressure. It will be essential that we can continue and even expand our work to cope with that surge as we face into the winter and into 2021.”
According to the DRCC’s annual report for last year, there were 14,159 total contacts to the National Helpline, up almost 6% over 2018.
The number of those seeking therapy and counselling from DRCC also grew to 617 clients in 2019. Some 300 people were directly supported in attending the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit following rape or sexual assault, as well as 240 of their friends and family members.
There was also a “stark increase” in those seeking accompaniment through the criminal justice system.
The webchat service is open for use every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10am – 2pm. However, these hours may change, the organisation has confirmed. For more information, check out their website here.
If you have been affected by domestic abuse;
Women’s Aid operates a 24hr National Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900
A feared increase in domestic violence has also been prioritised in the Garda’s planning for COVID-19, to contact their Crime Victim's Helpline call 116 006.
An interactive map is also now live here where you can find details of the local community service providers who are available to take your call.
If you are in immediate danger call An Garda Síochána on 999/112