A substantial anonymous philanthropic donation is to facilitate the purchase of West Cork’s first safe house for women and children who are attempting to escape domestic abuse.
This is the biggest single development in the history of West Cork Women Against Violence (WCWAV), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, having been formed in Bantry in 1999.
The donation will facilitate the purchase of a four or five-bedroom house in an undisclosed location in West Cork.
The safe house will not be staffed overnight but will have security with reinforced doors, panic buttons, and cameras. In the event of any threat during out-of-office hours, the immediate response will be from the gardaí.
A safe house worker will assess the needs of clients, work with them on a safety plan and and aftercare plan to assist in their transition from the house to independent life.
In a statement, WCWAV said it had identified the need to obtain safe emergency accommodation in West Cork back in 2016.
“Then unexpectedly in early 2019, we received an invitation from a major philanthropic asking us to submit a letter of interest in response to a donor who was interested in supporting a large capital project,” it said.
WCWAV says the new development gives women living in fear a real option other than having to continue to live with their abuser.
There is still a degree of work involved in making the safe house a reality as the group need to equip, maintain and run it over the next few years.
WCWAV has a staff of five — one full-time and four part-time — who have between them have more than 60 years of experience in delivering support to women in crisis and in promoting the issues of violence against women and gender equality.