New Man Up West Campaign On Domestic Abuse Launches Across Connacht This Week

This week sees the launch of a new inspiring and brave campaign to harness the voices, concerns and activism of men and boys across the West of Ireland to play their role in helping to change the face of domestic violence and coercive control in the province.  Man Up West coincides with the global 16 days of action against violence against women.

Man Up West is a Safe Ireland campaign.  Man Up was originally launched as a national campaign in 2012 and ran for many years with champions ranging from rugby star Rob Kearney to broadcaster Ryan Tubridy.  However, this is the first time that the campaign has focused on a specific region.  This year, it is reaching out specifically to younger men in the West, inviting them to stand with their partners, sisters, friends and mothers against domestic abuse and coercive control.

Safe Ireland is the national social change agency working to end domestic abuse and coercive control.  It collaborates with 38 domestic violence support organisations across the country.

Man Up West is rooted in evidence.  Safe Ireland undertook preliminary research on attitudes to gender equality, roles and responsibilities and awareness and attitudes to domestic abuse and coercive control.  In focus groups held in the West of Ireland, this research found that “lad culture” is an issue of particular concern to younger women, and one that is often excused by mothers and fathers.

It also found, however, that, overall, more progressive attitudes towards gender equality and roles are often found in more rural regions, including Connacht.  In addition, it indicated that there is much greater awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and coercive control in more rural regions, again including Connacht, than urban areas.  Some of the most rigid views towards gender were expressed in Dublin.

“This campaign is about men and boys in the West of Ireland leading the way on helping to end the hidden terror that is domestic abuse and coercive control,” said Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland and Mayo Women’s Support Services.

“We are focusing on the West of Ireland in this campaign because we know from our research that while there would seem to be a propensity towards the continuation of a lad culture that is disrespectful of women, there is also amazing evidence that the vast majority of young men are proud to play their part in making Connacht the safest province for the women and children they live with and love.”

“This is a really exciting, positive campaign that is asking young men to call out lad culture for what it really is, which is coward culture.”

The campaign will launch on Monday, December 2nd with radio ads across regional radio stations, posters, leaflets and a social media campaign.

Men are asked to do three simple but powerful things to support the campaign:

  1. Get beyond the daft myths that sexism, domestic abuse and coercive control are out of character, or that “lads will be lads.”
  2. Speak out and tell friends, family and colleagues that disrespect, sexism or stereotyping of girls and women isn’t cool.
  3. Organise one event or day to highlight that West of Ireland men are taking the lead in calling out disrespect and abuse.

The campaign is supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland.

For more media information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2395207

President Michael D. Higgins hosts event for MAN UP and HeforShe in Áras an Uachtaráin

From left to right: Assistant Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, Brigadier General Peter O' Halloran, Gerry Collins, IBEC, President Michael D. Higgins, First Lady Sabina Higgins, David Joyce, ICTU, John Delaney, FAI at the MAN UP, HeforShe event in Áras an Uachtaráin on March 11th,  2016

From left to right: Assistant Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, Brigadier General Peter O’ Halloran, Gerry Collins, IBEC, President Michael D. Higgins, First Lady Sabina Higgins, David Joyce, ICTU, John Delaney, FAI at the MAN UP, HeforShe event in Áras an Uachtaráin on March 11th, 2016


Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland, said that Ireland can be the safest country in the world for women and children.  To achieve this, however, we have to change culture and attitudes that mean that domestic violence is too often not believed or taken seriously.

She was speaking at a special event hosted at Áras an Uachtaráin by President Michael D. Higgins as a Champion World Leader of the UN Women HeforShe campaign, World.  HeforShe celebrates the positive and powerful role of men in promoting and supporting women’s rights and equality.

She was speaking at a special event hosted at Áras an Uachtaráin by President Michael D. Higgins as a Champion World Leader of the UN Women HeforShe campaign, World.  HeforShe celebrates the positive and powerful role of men in promoting and supporting women’s rights and equality.

The head of the national organisation of 39 domestic violence services said that on average 12,500 women and children look for support for domestic violence services in one year.  However, research also shows that 79% of women who have experienced intimate violence never report the most serious incident to anybody.  Only about 8-12% of women experiencing violence contact a domestic violence service.

O’Halloran said that it was critical that men stand with women as allies against domestic violence, as an issue that is deeply rooted in inequality.  She told the audience at the Áras that “we need to have the courage to face up to the enormity of domestic violence, to say that it is real and then act to bring visibility and voice like never before in this country.”

“We have to understand that the root of all violence is what happens in the home and home is not an island. It is clearly situated in society and clearly affected by culture,” O’Halloran said.

“We must address our culture and attitudes because they affect the ability and confidence of most women to report violence and seek help,” she continued.  “It is our culture and attitudes that determine how we hear and respond to domestic violence. It is our culture and attitudes that allow domestic violence to continue as a largely undocumented, underreported and unprosecuted crime in Ireland,” she continued.

Special guests at the event included broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, an Ambassador for SAFE Ireland’s MAN UP Campaign, and global star Hozier, whose recently released single Cherry Wine is dedicated to raising consciousness about the complexity of abuse and was part of the campaign #FaceUpToDomesticViolence.  Revenue from the single downloads are being donated to domestic violence services around the world, including SAFE Ireland.

President Higgins was appointed in 2015 as a Champion World Leader of the UN Women HeforShe campaign, which seeks to encourage men – as individuals, role-models and leaders – to support gender equality.  President Higgins and his wife Sabina have both been life-long campaigners for women’s rights and gender equality.  Sabina has supported SAFE Ireland’s MAN UP Campaign, which promotes the positive and powerful role that men can play in ending domestic violence, in challenging abuse and in supporting women and children.

President Higgins said “Throughout our public life, Sabina and I have been involved in many campaigns for equality – in the areas of labour, welfare, housing, education, healthcare and in relation to fertility and private life. Over those many years we have spent working on those issues, it has always been clear to us that women’s rights and equality is a political project in which men should have as great an interest and as onerous a duty as women. All of society loses when you have gender inequality. All of society is flawed if gender violence is allowed to occur, is tolerated, and if an intolerable silence prevails around this grave issue. Then too, no invocation of cultural differences or tradition can ever be accepted as an excuse for gender violence.

 The great importance of HeforShe and MAN UP lies in their recognition that the change we wish for cannot be achieved simply by laws, policies or funding. Social change is necessary as well as a change in consciousness.”

The Defence Forces were in attendance alongside IBEC, the FAI, ICTU, the Union of Students of Ireland who all pledged their involvement with the MAN UP campaign.


UFC Fighter Cathal Pendred is fronting SAFE Ireland’s MAN UP Campaign this year with a call out to all men to use their common power to stand up against domestic violence.

Pictured is James O'Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Cathal Pendred and Aodhan O'Riordain TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality. Picture Jason Clarke.

Pictured is James O’Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Cathal Pendred and Aodhan O’Riordain TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality. Picture Jason Clarke.

UFC Fighter Cathal Pendred is fronting SAFE Ireland’s MAN UP campaign this year with a call out to all men to use their common power to stand up against domestic violence. MAN UP focuses on the positive role that men play in ending domestic violence, in challenging abuse and supporting women and children. At the launch of the campaign today, the Mixed Martial Arts star was joined by James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Aodhan O’ Riordain TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, as well as Gordon Jeyes, Chief Executive of Tusla, the Child & Family Agency. Sharon O’ Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland, said that comprehensive annual statistics for domestic violence will be released later this month. Indications are that there will be another increase this year in the numbers of women coming forward to domestic violence services throughout the country. Last year over 8,000 women looked for support from a SAFE Ireland member service. “Our services are stretched beyond coping point at this stage”, she said. “SAFE Ireland has been compiling statistics for eight years. Year on year we have seen an increase in the  numbers of women looking for help. Our members do the impossible sometimes by continuing to stretch their inadequate resources to meet the demand for their services. But, there is a point beyond which they can no longer stretch and that tipping point has already been reached.”

“We have to take domestic violence seriously. It is great to see three senior representatives of Government Departments at the launch of MAN UP today. We are optimistic that this is an indication that this Government is indeed serious about, not just hearing about domestic violence, but about responding to it with leadership and resources.

Mixed Martial Arts star Cathal Pendred approached SAFE Ireland a year ago to see if there was anything he could do to support the campaign. He says that men can use their common power to stand against domestic violence. Cathal is also being fully supported as MAN UP Champion by Fuze Sports Management and by the UFC who will be promoting MAN UP to its followers.

“As men and boys I believe we have real power,” Cathal said. “Each of us has our own unique set of strengths. But I believe we have one common power. And that’s the power to stand up against domestic violence. I know it might surprise some people that a UFC Mixed Martial Arts Fighter is involved in a campaign against domestic violence,” he continued. “And yes, I’m a fighter. It’s my job. It’s my passion. But one of my golden rules is to always keep my aggression in the ring”.

Minister James Reilly said that men have a critical responsibility to be positive role models for children and young boys. This influencing role of men is an important theme in this year’s MAN UP Campaign. “Domestic violence affects everyone. Children are affected too. Imagine the impact on a young child as they see violence between two people they love, respect and feel safe with. This can do nothing but harm” said James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.  “Domestic violence can have a lifetime impact on children. We have an obligation as a society to ensure that they are protected from violence and that they are fully supported if they have experienced it. Critically, however, we all, and particularly men, have a great opportunity to be models for younger boys and children – to teach them with our words and actions that being a strong man means respecting women and caring for others.”

This is the fourth year of the MAN UP Campaign, which is proving to be one of Ireland’s most successful campaigns on raising awareness about domestic abuse. Over the years MAN UP supporters have included broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, rugby star Rob Kearney and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD.

SAFE Ireland is the national organisation of 40 domestic violence services –

Launch of MAN UP 2015 ~ Monday, November 16th

Launch of MAN UP 2015

The launch of MAN UP 2015 takes place on Monday, November 16th in Pearse Street Library, Pearse Street, Dublin 2 with mix martial arts fighter Cathal Pendred.

A professional fighter with UFC, Cathal is a person who challenges stereotypes and provokes thought and discussion.

As he says in our new MAN UP web film:

“Each man has his own unique strength. But we have one common power, to stand against domestic violence and abuse.”

Join us on November 16th as we launch this new phase of MAN UP.

Registration opens at 10.30am, launch is from 11am – 1pm.



First Lady Sabina Higgins Launches Man Up Exhibition in Offaly

Andrea and Sabina discuss the Man Up exhibition

Andrea and Sabina discuss the Man Up exhibition

First Lady Sabina Higgins, together with Offaly Domestic Violence Support Service launched SAFE Ireland’s Man Up photo exhibition in Tullamore Library on March 31st, 2015. Alongside Cllr. Sinead Dooley, Andrea Zipoli, the photographer responsible for the captivating pictures, welcomed the public to view the exhibition anytime during its month long stay in April.


Italian Magazine’s report on Man Up

"I'll show you how"Italian magazine’s Republica and Oggi have written articles on the SAFE Ireland Man Up photographic exhibition. “The photographs are aimed at capturing moments that may belong to anyone, beyond nationality, level of education or religious belief” ~ OGGI.

While Di Nicola Perilli of Republica write’s “The black and white photographs highlights the goodness that Andrea (Zipoli) was able to capture and imortalize and that does not stop at the borders of Ireland but becomes a message and example for all”.

View the full article from Republica Magazine here and the article from OGGI Magazine here

Italian Magazine, Panorama, on Man Up’s Photographic Exhibition by Andrea Zipoli

Panorama magazine

An Italian magazine based in Milan, has written an article about Andrea Zipoli’s Man Up Photographic Exhibition.

Rita Fenini writes ‘Born in Milan but Irish by adoption, and with a degree in architecture, Andrea Zipoli made his “passion” for photography his profession. Sensitive to the issue of violence against women and children, he created a series of shots for SAFE Ireland’s MAN UP Campaign. His job was to tell positive stories of men and their role in family life. The photographs capture fleeting but memorable moments in which men are encouraging, gentle, strong and kind to women and children.  Do not beat, abuse, do not kill, do not rape. These are a series of images that tell of moments of change, ageing and renewal. The photographs capture moments that may belong to anyone, beyond nationality, education or religious beliefs’

You can access the article here and view Andrea’s exhibition here


Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, and Ryan Tubridy Launch MAN UP 2014

Safe IrelandWhite House advisor for violence against women Lynn Rosenthal was the keynote speaker at the launch of MAN UP 2014. Ms Rosenthal said she admired Ireland for tackling gender roles so squarely and said men have a “moral responsibility to speak out” against domestic violence.

Safe Ireland is teaming up with the US-based National Network to End Domestic Violence “to make the United States and Ireland the safest places for women and children in the world”, Ms Rosenthal said.

Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy also spoke at the event. He referred to the almost 3,500 requests for emergency accommodation that were refused last year because the refuge was full as “biblical”, adding it was like being told there was “no room at the inn”. “We need to keep the lights on metaphorically and physically,” he said. “Our relationship in this country with children and women has not been good,” he said.

The broadcaster and father of two said that being a Dad had made him much more troubled about domestic violence.  He said that he grew up listening to women speaking about the issue on the radio, but that he had thought “people just don’t do that any more”.

“I know what I have become,  is much more evangelical about getting the word out there that we need to be aware. If you see a black eye, or a flinching person, or someone who is out of character, you need to listen up, speak up and man up.”

Nearly 11,500 women and children get support from domestic violence services in 2013

man-up-2014At least 8,033 women and 3,424 children received support from a domestic violence service in Ireland in 2013, according to new statistics released today by SAFE Ireland, the national organisation of domestic violence services.

In addition, services across Ireland answered 46,137 helpline calls.  This means that 126 calls were answered every day, or five calls every hour, throughout 2013.   The annual figures also include 1,769 individual women and 2,699 children who were accommodated and/or received supports in an emergency refuge in 2013.

The numbers looking for refuge have not varied hugely since 2011 because refuges are operating at full capacity, according to Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of SAFE Ireland.

The statistics show that 6,187 women received a wide range of non-accommodation services such as advocacy, counseling or court accompaniment.  This represents an increase of nearly 70% seeking these supports since national statistics began in 2007.

The statistics were released in conjunction with the launch of SAFE Ireland’s new MAN UP campaign, which is about highlighting the positive role men can play in ending domestic violence. White House Advisor for Violence Against Women, Lynn Rosenthal, and broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, were special guests at the launch.

“The statistics are shocking again this year,” O’Halloran said.  “But there comes a point when shocking has to mean something, when shocking has to be taken seriously.  “Our services are operating beyond their capacity. They have been for years.  In order to support these women and the women we know we are not hearing from we need additional capacity across all our services as the start of a transformative and meaningful response to women and children.”

She said that SAFE Ireland welcomed last week’s comprehensive Justice Committee Report on Domestic and Sexual Violence, including recommendations to strengthen protection for victims of domestic violence.

“We cannot begin to bring these horrendous statistics down without the involvement of everyone in society, including men,” O’Halloran said about the MAN UP Campaign.  “MAN UP is about asking men to stand against domestic violence, to show pride and leadership, to challenge abuse and violence and to support women and children.”

SAFE Ireland also said that the numbers receiving support from domestic violence services were realistically just the “tip of the iceberg”.   The largest EU survey on domestic and sexual violence, carried out by the EU Fundamental Right Agency, and released earlier this year, showed that 26% or 394,325 women in Ireland has experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner.  One in three women also reported experiencing some form of psychological violence.


MAN UP is supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI).  It is funded by Cosc, the national office for the prevention of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.  This is the third year of the MAN UP Campaign, which started in 2012, but it is the start of a new phase of the campaign.

For more information see

For more information contact:  Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207


Domestic Violence in Ireland – A Snapshot of Support in 2013

  • 8,033 individual women received support from Domestic Violence support services.
  • 3,424 individual children received support from Domestic Violence Support Services.
  • 1,769 women and 2,699 children lived in a refuge and received accommodation and other supports.
  • 46,137 helpline calls were answered by all domestic violence services across Ireland.
  • There were 2,052 women admissions and 2,787 children admissions to refuge (sometimes repeat individuals).
  • There were 3,494 unmet requests for emergency refuge accommodation because the refuge was full.

New MAN UP Photographic Exhibition Goes On Nationwide Tour

9Galway photographer Andrea Zipoli has created a stunning exhibition of 20 photos to accompany the MAN UP Campaign for 2014.  Andrea has captured some of the many everyday ways in which great men show kindness, courage and support for women and children.  After listening to a radio interview about domestic violence, Andrea shared a photograph from a previous campaign on social media and Safe Ireland contacted him around collaborating on a new project.

This thought provoking and positive exhibition is the result of that phone call.

His exhibition is going to tour Dublin City Libraries over the coming months.  You can catch it in the Central Library, The ILAC Centre (November), Terenure Library (January), Dolphin’s Barn (February) and Ballyfermot (March).

It is also on exhibition at Galway City LIbrary, where it got its West Coast launch to coincide with the Cope Galway launch of MAN UP on October 29th.  Following that the exhibition will move to Ennis, Limerick and North Tipperary.

If you would like to show Andrea’s MAN UP Photographic Exhibition in your area – in a local library or gallery – over the coming months, contact the SAFE Ireland office or call 0906-479078.