Conference 2013

‘the personal & public cost of domestic violence’ Conference
21st November 2013, Maritime Hotel, Bantry

 “The Personal and Public Cost of Domestic Violence” Conference took place in Bantry, Co Cork on 21st November 2013 hosted by West Cork Women Against Violence Project. The day- long event heard from academics, practitioners, service providers and service users.  During the course of the Conference responses to, the cost of, and the impact and experience of domestic violence were explored and analysed.

It was not our original intention  to provide such detailed coverage of the guest speakers  but the quality of  their contributions, and the honesty of the critiques of practices and experiences made it impossible to do less than give as much of a faithful coverage as possible.  Their inputs also ensured thought-provoking and stimulating discussions with the group of local panellists in the afternoon, leading to commitments to explore ways of working in partnership to tackle domestic violence and its consequences in the West Cork area which we in WCWAV feel sure will bear fruit.

WCWAVP  held the conference as a means of opening a discussion about how to take forward our work on combating domestic violence in West Cork and more generally. We wanted to engage in a candid conversation with local service providers, local agencies and actors as to how best we could work together to ensure the safety of women and children. Our best expectations were surpassed by the passion, commitment, research and innovations presented and detailed by our contributors, and the level of interest and engagement of conference attendees. Many of those who attended are integral to the community and voluntary sector organisations of West Cork who have a continuing drive to increase their knowledge.  Many were women who have first- hand experience of the inadequacies in our responses to them. Thought-provoking insights and analyses provided by our speakers and panellists fed the discussions, leading to a commitment to explore ways of working in partnership to tackle domestic violence and its consequences in the West Cork area.

We felt that the content of the day deserved to be heard by a wider audience.  There is food for thought for everyone in these pages; domestic violence support services, community organisations, activists, service providers, legislators and national policymakers. The limits of current policy and practice on domestic violence is to view it almost in isolation, as an aberration, with services mainly contained within one sector- the domestic violence sector.  In looking at the true cost of domestic violence (Click here for the transcript of the paper from NATA DUVURRY) in terms of health mental (Click here for the transcript of the paper from KYLEE TREVILLION), physical health, economics, children’s well-being, women’s safety & rights and judicial responses to name only a few, we have the means to gather incontrovertible evidence of the damage done to society, to generations and to more than half of the population – women, because when the experiences and realities of women who are victims of male violence are undervalued or ignored then all women are diminished.

We have a very long way to go in changing the acceptability if not the inevitability of domestic violence, in devising responses and laws that support and protect the victims (Click here for the transcript of the paper from ANNIE CAMPBELL) and, as will be clear from at least one contribution, (Click here for the transcript of the paper from JANE RUFFINO) in devising services that meet users’ needs.  However, with the PERSONAL & PUBLIC COST of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, we here in West Cork have begun a conversation that challenges all of us to do more and to dig deeper than before, because to do otherwise increases the cost for all of us.

Marie Mulholland

For the Q&A sessions from the Conference, please click on these links:

Q&A 1

Q&A 2