Leinster Rugby has today announced Women’s Aid as its first charity affiliate as part of its newly established charity partner programme.

The new charity affiliate programme was launched last month and replaces the two-season long charity partner programme which was no longer possible due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Instead the charity affiliate programme will see Leinster Rugby adding its considerable online support to a new charity each month for the next year, starting with Women’s Aid for November.

Women’s Aid is a leading national organisation that has been working in Ireland to stop domestic violence against women and children since 1974.

Speaking this morning to leinsterrugby.ie, Sarah Benson, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said, “The Covid-19 national emergency has shone a light on the crisis of domestic violence in homes across Ireland. There is a greater awareness that home is not always a safe place for everyone.

“We are delighted to partner with Leinster Rugby for the month of November to help raise awareness of the very serious issue of domestic violence. Many women and children are living in suffocating circumstances with their abusers because of the renewed measures to combat Covid-19 this November. We are receiving about 1,000 more calls a month than usual.

“Women’s Aid is committed to listening, believing and supporting women experiencing domestic abuse, especially at this time of increased need. With the support of Leinster Rugby we are urging communities to be vigilant and responsive to anyone whom they feel may be in an abusive, dangerous situation. People can seek their own support and information through our website, National Freephone Helpline or other resources if they need, in order to help to others.”

On behalf of Leinster Rugby, Marcus Ó Buachalla, who manages the charity programme, said, “We are delighted to have Women’s Aid as our first charity affiliate and we are looking forward to supporting their work over the coming month culminating in a campaign launch that they have planned for late November.

“Domestic violence and its seriousness was brought home to us all when An Taoiseach Mícheál Martin, TD called it out in his address to the nation recently so it is timely that we bring attention to this issue and also the great work that Women’s Aid are doing to help women and children living under the cloud of domestic abuse.”

Women’s Aid work to make women and children safe from domestic violence. They offer support and provide hope to women affected by abuse and work for justice and social change in our society.

The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline (1800 341 900) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides support and information to callers experiencing abuse from intimate partners. It is the only free, national, domestic violence helpline with specialised trained staff, fully-accredited by The Helplines Association and with a Telephone Interpretation Service facility covering 170 languages for callers needing interpreting services.

In addition, the Helpline acts as a gateway to local services and refuges across Ireland. The national helpline team also operate a confidential instant messaging support service on www.womensaid.ie

Women’s Aid also offers a Dublin-based One to One Support Service in six locations throughout Dublin. In addition to their direct services, Women’s Aid acts for justice and social change by engaging in policy, representation and communications and campaigns activity at a national level.

All of the charity affiliates will be selected by Leinster Rugby after a consultation process involving the leadership group of the men, women’s and Academy teams and consultation with our premium sponsors and partners and the Official Leinster Supporters Club. Women’s Aid is the first charity announced and a further 11 will be confirmed and supported over the coming year.

Bank of Ireland has also confirmed that their Player of the Month Award donation will now be made to the monthly charity affiliate, rather than the player in question, a move that is also supported by the Leinster Rugby players.

The first vote for the new season sees Michael Bent, Luke McGrath and Rhys Ruddock nominated for the Bank of Ireland Player of the Month Award for October and the Official Members will decide the winner.

Further information about Women’s Aid and the Leinster Rugby Charity Affiliate Programme:

  • One in five women in Ireland experience domestic abuse
  • Women’s Aid services engaged in 20,763 support contacts in 2019 during which they heard 24,049 disclosures of abuse against women and children
  • The 24hr National Freephone Helpline responded to a 43% increase in calls between the end of March and the end of June
  • The organisation also saw a 71% increase in visits to the Women’s Aid website for this period where information and resources are available to victims, survivors and their allies
  • The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900
  • Women’s Aid is the first charity affiliate announced by Leinster Rugby and will be supported by Leinster Rugby for the month of November. Another charity will be announced for December
  • The selection process for all 12 charities includes the Leinster Rugby players, Leinster Rugby sponsors and partners and also the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC)