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RiVeR Project Host Seeking Safety Ireland Event

27 March 2024

The RiVeR Project in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) was honoured to recently host a lunchtime event on campus showcasing the phenomenal Seeking Safety Ireland initiative. The RiVeR Project is a national programme which is responding to the impacts of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence through research, education and training. The event was opened by Dr Kathleen Nallen Project Lead for the RiVeR Project who was followed by Orla Walsh the Seeking Safety Ireland Coordinator. Orla introduced the audience to the Seeking Safety Pilot Project which is an evidence based therapeutic programme designed to support women who are experiencing difficulties resulting from substance misuse, trauma/or mental health issues and domestic sexual or gender-based violence.

This national pilot programme commenced in October 2022, and is currently being funded by the HSE, with the support of the Department of Health, Women’s Mental Health Task Force. The project is run in partnership between the HSE and seven community projects: The SAOL project, Ballyfermot Star, Reddoor Project Drogheda, Ballymun Star, Roscommon women’s network, Sophia Housing and Ruhama. Orla was eloquently supported on the day by peer workers and service users who described their own personal journey and experience of the programme.

Seeking Safety Ireland is fully committed to the full adaptation of a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) approach to the design, implementation, and evaluation of the programme. To that end they have just completed a Peer led evaluation of the project. This evaluation was entirely carried out by the Peer Researchers (Women with lived experience), supported by a governance team led by an independent researcher. The aim of the evaluation was to ascertain if the project worked and if the programme overcame the barriers that women face when trying to get help.  In summary, the evaluation revealed a positive outcome for both aims. 

Seeking Safety Ireland state that their goal is to embed Seeking Safety as a model of support into services across the whole of Ireland over a four-year period and to realise this objective the continuation of Seeking Safety Ireland is critical.

Dr Kathleen Nallen, Project Lead, RiVeR Project, DkIT, said

“We were really inspired by the piece of research that was completed on Seeking safety Ireland which was presented on the day and in particular by the inputs and experiences which were shared by the participants of this programme. The students and staff of DkIT who were present at this event felt truly privileged to hear such personal and inspirational stories from these phenomenal women who had overcome adversity, trauma & addiction”.

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