Sonas: protecting women and children from domestic violence

Sonas helped 1,200 women and children in danger of domestic abuse last year

Fiona Ryan, chief executive of Sonas which runs the Clondalkin Supported Housing Complex in Cluainin Cronan on Kilcronan Avenue. Photograph: Colin Keegan

Fiona Ryan, chief executive of Sonas which runs the Clondalkin Supported Housing Complex in Cluainin Cronan on Kilcronan Avenue. Photograph: Colin Keegan

 

Sonas is the State’s largest provider of accommodation for women and children in fear of domestic violence.

It provides clients with a range of accommodation options – generally according to the level of threat they face – and a range of support services.

Accommodation options include emergency refuge, step-down and supported housing. The facility in Clondalkin was in the middle category. The organisation also has accommodation in Killester, Ringsend and Co Wicklow.

Sonas, which is funded by Tusla, the child and family agency, also offers a support service for women experiencing domestic abuse that includes general advice and signposting to other services, as well as specific advice on risk and safety assessment, court accompaniment and legal issues.

There is also a visiting service through which an intensive form of support is delivered to a woman in her home on a case management, long-term, structured support basis. This visiting service also includes a crisis intervention service which is specific support for women and children experiencing domestic violence while homeless.

The Clondalkin step-down accommodation facility included six houses and four apartments in which 29 women and children were living prior to Wednesday’s tragedy. There was a Sonas office there as well as a protected, screened-off play area for children.

Several CCTV cameras scan the entrance and entrance approach to the apartment building to watch for any unwelcome visitors. The apartment block can only be entered via a key-pad door-opening system.

Last year, the organisation helped 1,200 women and children at risk of domestic violence. It tends to operate in a low-key manner, working closely with the Garda and community groups in areas where accommodation is provided.

Sonas’s emergency helpline number is 01-866 2015; general advice may be had by calling 087-952 5217.

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