Surge in calls to Women’s Aid after Cavan case

In the wake of the Cavan murder-suicide, there has been a 30% increase in traffic to the Women’s Aid website.

The service has also seen a surge in calls to its 24-hour helpline.

On August 29, Clodagh Hawe and her three children Liam, Niall, and Ryan were murdered by Alan Hawe, her husband and their father, who later took his own life.

“What we’ve seen in the last couple of days, is we’ve certainly seen a very significant spike in the use of our website, it’s gone up from about 460 hits a day [to 700 hits daily].

“A very significant number of callers over the weekend and over the last week have had very serious concerns in relation to their own safety and the safety of their children,” Women’s Aid director Margaret Martin said.

She was speaking at the launch of the organisation’s 24-hour free helpline.

“A tragedy like this is a shock to the whole country. People are trying to come to terms with it to see what the reasons are behind it.

“But for a significant group of women, there’s an additional worry in that they know that their children are being abused sometimes and that there can be very serious death threats,” she added.

Ms Martin said Women’s Aid received reports of almost 1,000 death threats made to partners in 2015.

“Our staff and volunteers on the 24-hour helpline are supporting women who are afraid of their partners and who have threatened to kill them, the kids or themselves.

“And their fears are founded on reality,” said Ms Martin.

Launching the helpline yesterday was Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone, who admitted that the case in Cavan had been discussed at cabinet level.

“We, of course, discussed the tragedy in relation to Cavan. We stay with the grief of the family,” Ms Zappone said.

She added that the Government was eager to help families in distress.

“Rather than focus on that one case which may add to the grief of the extended family, I think it’s important to say that the Government is keen to support families who are in distress, these things happen.

“Violence does occur and again, in relation to what’s happening today with Women’s Aid, we now have a 24-hour free helpline for people to ring,” the minister said.

“Not unlike most others, I am deeply shocked and saddened by what happened in Cavan,” she added.

A funeral Mass was held over the weekend for the Hawe family and all five members were buried together.


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