Waterside House highlights the issue of Dating Abuse this Valentines Week

14th February 2017

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.

Local Service provider COPE Galway Waterside House highlights the issue of Dating Abuse this Valentines Week.

“Peer pressure, wanting to fit in and loneliness can all contribute to young people being vulnerable to abuse within a relationship. Despite feeling uncomfortable, the pressure to conform can be overwhelming” says Ciara Tyrrell of COPE Galway Waterside House.

COPE Galway Waterside House delivers Healthy Relationships Workshops to second-level Transition Year students in Galway City and County to raise awareness around Healthy and Unhealthy relationships.

Recent research shows a dearth of information in both European and Irish literature pertaining to the issue of dating abuse in teenage relationships and that current dangers surrounding internet use is an added difficulty for young people when trying to leave an abusive relationship. 

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, which pairs up academia with community-based organisations.  The research included focus groups with women who had experienced domestic abuse, an analysis of feedback from the participants, and an exploration of how the Healthy Relationships workshop fits with the aims of the SPHE (Social, Personal & Health Education) programme currently being delivered in schools.

All the women interviewed as part of the research felt that, had they been given the Healthy Relationships workshop when they were younger, they might not have ended up in abusive relationships. They cited low self-esteem and a lack of information as being important indicators of vulnerability to future abuse.

This Valentine’s week, COPE Galway Waterside House is highlighting the importance of raising awareness among young people of the signs of an abusive relationship.  “Our aim 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” says Ciara.

The service also offers information to third level students and took part last week in NUIG’s sexual health week (‘SHAG’ Week) to raise awareness on the issue of Dating Abuse within an intimate relationship.  COPE Galway Waterside House will also be at the GMIT main campus on February 22nd 2017.

For more information, click here or here or contact COPE Galway Waterside House at 091-565985.


Note to Editor:

COPE Galway Waterside House 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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