There was a sea of purple at Longford Garda Station this morning as Gardaí and local domestic violence support services donned the colour for Go Purple Day.
An Garda Síochána has partnered with Men’s Aid and Safe Ireland to mark ’Go Purple Day’ and help raise awareness about domestic abuse and the local domestic abuse support services available to those affected in Ireland.
The initiative was first organised in 2020 by Community Garda, Stacey Looby from Athlone Garda Station to help strengthen community partnerships between domestic abuse services and An Garda Síochána, and it is now a national day of awareness about domestic abuse.
Gardaí from the Longford and Granard Districts today invited local community groups, councillors and domestic violence support service providers to attend Longford Garda Station for a morning of tea, coffee and conversation about domestic violence in the county.
"Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional or mental abuse of one partner by another in a relationship which may or may not be one of marriage or cohabitation and includes abuse by any family member against whom a safety order or a barring order may be obtained by another family member," said Superintendent Seamus Boyle, explaining An Garda Síochána's Domestic Violence policy this morning.
"Domestic violence is not confined solely to heterosexual relationships but also occurs within lesbian, gay and bisexual or transgender relationships. Though women in heterosexual relationships account for the majority of reported victims of domestic violence, men in heterosexual relationships and men and women in same sex relationships are also victims. In addition, children in homes where domestic violence exists also suffer.
"Domestic Violence also presents itself in the form of abuse of older people by abusive spouses, children, relatives, carers and abuse of people with disabilities by either their carers, partners or relatives. Domestic violence crosses class, gender, race and religious belief and can affect a diverse range of victims.
"We call out to domestic violence incidents. We have to do a risk assessment of those incidents and we do call backs," Supt Boyle explained.
"National policy has dictates that we must do the callback within seven days and if we don't do the callbacks within seven days, we have to answer why that hasn't happened. And it does happen on occasion that we don't get to do callbacks because people are moved into secure accommodation, but it's rare that it doesn't happen.
"It's very topical at the moment. Nationally, it's very high priority at the moment. It's monitored daily by all the districts in the organisation.
"We are there for the victims," he assured. "It's very important to stress that it's across all classes, all genders and An Garda Síochána are there to help these people, no matter what your status is, what your gender is or where you come from.
"In relation to today, it's an opportunity to bring together all the services that provide victims and vulnerable people who are victims of domestic violence.
"Purple Day is here today and I'd like to recognise the support that we get and to thank all the other agencies who are involved in helping the victims of domestic violence and abuse."
Members of the public as well as Garda personnel nationwide have been encouraged to show their support today by simply wearing, drawing or baking something purple. The most important thing is to help spread the word about this important issue.
Speaking on ‘Go Purple Day’ Detective Chief Superintendent Colm Noonan of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said: "An Garda Síochána is prioritising the prevention of these crimes, supporting victims and pursuing perpetrators through specialist activity as part of Operation Faoiseamh which is led by our front line Garda members. Gardaí want to reassure the public that we are here to listen, protect and support victims of domestic abuse, sexual crime and gender-based violence.
"I want to encourage every victim to not suffer in silence and to assure them that they will be listened to and all reports will be treated sensitively and in confidence.
He added, "Organisations including Safe Ireland and Men’s Aid provide vital support services to those affected, and work very closely with Gardaí at local and national level. Their assistance is often the difference in someone receiving the practical help and advice that they need to seek refuge from the abuse.
"Our ‘Go Purple Day’ is an opportunity to highlight their important work and share information on how victims can access their services. It is also a time to emphasise the possible warning signs of domestic abuse, sexual crime and gender-based violence that we can all look out for and recognise. For example, visible physical signs and changes in behaviour or demeanour and coercive control tactics.
"The reality is that the perpetrators of domestic abuse hide in very plain sight, but those most impacted are often behind closed doors. Many are too frightened to disclose the extent of what they are experiencing.
"This ‘Go Purple Day’ Gardaí together with domestic abuse support services’ across Ireland are sending the strong message – we are here for you.”
You can support #GoPurpleDay by embracing the colour purple at home, while at work or among friends and family – wear it, bake it, sow it, glow it. All those getting involved in today’s initiative are kindly asked to share a photo via social media.
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