Mayo Women's Refuge & Support Services

Providing refuge and supporting women to live free from violence


"Violence against Women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women…..and violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position to men".

UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women


Through the provision of a safe place, accessible community based services and ongoing campaign of raising public awareness of the crime of violence against women, we aim to encourage women to recognised their right to live free from violence and abuse.


To raise public awareness and provide education in order to highlight the right of women to live free from violence and abuse.

To provide accessible support, advice and information so that women can protect themselves (and their children) from violence in their homes.

To provide safe and secure accommodation.


Free Confidential Service:

Advice on legal information, welfare, housing, one-to-one support and listening. Referral to appropriate agencies, court accompaniment and Helpline.

Support Visits:

Post-legal remedies and after refuge accommodation.


At various locations throughout the county. Either by appointment, by phone or in a crisis situation.


    Safe, secure refuge.

Only when all women and children who need information, support and refuge have access to it, can our society claim to support the right of women and their children to live free from violence and abuse.

Since the establishment of the service in 1994, there has been three key elements:

Outreach Clinic Service;

The Refuge;

Education and Awareness;



It provides safe, secure accommodation and a supportive, non-judgmental environment for women and children escaping violence in their own home. At the present time our refuge facility is limited. We provide two units of accommodation. However it is our hope that this aspect of the service will be fully operational within the current year through the provision of further funding.


The service has had a number of seminars and workshops, gives talks to women’s groups, schools and other service providers and in the community, voluntary and statutory sectors.

Each year the service engage with Women’s Aid and other Refuge Services throughout the country in the ‘Sixteen Days of Action against Violence against Women’.

The Education and Awareness Programme is essential to the Service, and needs to be maintained and developed.



We are working in partnership with Sonas Women’s Housing Association, Ballina Urban District Council and Respond! to provide transitional and long term housing for women and children made homeless as a result of domestic violence. A local working group is in place to support this work.



The abuse of women and the abuse of children have been examined as separate issues, with services being developed at different stages. Children’s experiences have been largely ignored in the context of domestic violence. Increasingly it has been found that in circumstances when the mother is experiencing domestic violence and abuse from her male partner the children are also likely to be abused by the same man. We consider that the development of a programme of support for children should be part of the provision of overall services both in the refuge and in the community.




She was sick of walking into doors,

And tripping over the cat

That the kids had wanted for years.

She was sick of trying to remember

And trying not to forget

what to say, and what not to say.

She was sick of worrying about what to cook

And what she should wear,

And knowing she would never quite get it right.

She was sick of being awake when she wanted to sleep

Scared of his screams

And her own dark dreams.

Sick of crying and worrying about dying,

Because he said he would kill her

one of these fine days,

and she believed him.

Then one day they left,

Just up and left,

And she didn’t die,

And she knew what to wear,

And she started to see the doors,

And the cat never got in her way,

And the kids started to laugh again.


Mitzie O’Reilly

March 1996