COPE Galway Domestic Violence Service talks to students about Dating Abuse this Valentines Week.

12th February 2018


This Valentine’s week, COPE Galway Domestic Violence & Outreach Service is back on campus at NUIG and GMIT to raise awareness among young people of the signs of an abusive relationship. 

The outreach service, operating from the refuge at Waterside House, offers information to third level students and is once again taking part in the annual NUIG and GMIT sexual health week (‘SHAG WEEK’) to raise awareness on the issue of Dating Abuse within an intimate relationship.

“Women who have experienced Domestic Violence say that information on Dating Abuse as teenagers could have helped them to recognise the early signs of an abusive relationship”, explains Ciara Tyrrell, from COPE Galway Domestic Violence Refuge and Outreach Service. “Our aim”, she says, “is to support students to identify the warning signs of an abusive relationship, in particular the more subtle controlling behaviours that are not so obvious in the initial stages of a relationship.”

Research* carried out with women who have experienced Domestic Abuse identified that low self-esteem and a lack of information are important indicators of vulnerability to future abuse. Loneliness and pressure to conform can all contribute to young people being vulnerable to abuse within a relationship and current dangers surrounding internet use is an added difficulty for young people when trying to leave an abusive relationship. 

Staff from COPE Galway Domestic Violence Refuge & Outreach Service will have a stand at NUIG beside Smokey’s Café on Tuesday the 13th of February 12pm-2pm and will be on main campus GMIT on Wednesday February 14th (Valentine’s Day). They will be handing out wristbands and information leaflets and are available to talk to anyone with concerns for themselves, a family member or a friend who they may be worried about.

To review the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship and for more information visit or contact COPE Galway Domestic Violence Refuge & Outreach Service at 091-565985.

[*The research was carried out in 2016 on the issue of Dating Abuse by NUIG MA Family Support UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre student Deirdre Nalty in conjunction with COPE Galway Waterside House as part of a community-based research partnership under the Community Knowledge Initiative].


Further information: Claire Sweeney or Sarah Higgins, COPE Galway Domestic Violence Refuge & Outreach Service. Tel: 091 565 985

Note to Editor:

COPE Galway Domestic Violence Refuge & Outreach Service is the only 24 hour accessible refuge in the Western region.  It provides refuge accommodation, information, support and court accompaniment to women and their children experiencing domestic violence. There is an Outreach service for women in the city and county who are in abusive relationships and who need support and information on their options. In 2016, COPE Galway Waterside House worked with 314 individual women & their 155 children experiencing Domestic Violence. The service provided 720 outreach appointments, 161 court accompaniments and answered 1709 support and crisis calls. Due to lack of space, the service was unable to accommodate 204 women with 246 children who requested refuge 249 times. 

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