Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services began as a grassroots women’s organisation in 1987. Emerging from the Navan Women’s Forum, the group was established by a group of local women who worked on a voluntary basis to research the needs of women in the area in the 1980’s. Discovering that domestic violence was one of four key issues affecting women in Meath, this group of women went on to research best practice responses to women’s experience of intimate partner violence, mobilise community and institutional support and established a refuge in 1987.
The refuge was initially staffed on a voluntary basis, but such was the need for its service, that it became clear by 1990 that securing ongoing funding was an imperative. Meath Women’s Refuge secured ongoing funding from Meath County Council and the HSE and was able to embark on a significant re-development of the refuge with a grant from the Department of Environment.
A publication about our work marking our 20th birthday shows that in this time we grew from a small grassroots organisation to a professional service with a comprehensive range of services for women and children at risk of domestic violence in County Meath. Today after over 30 years the organisation provides a wide range of services and supports to women and children in Meath both in its refuge and in the wider community and we seek to influence positive change in society towards our vision of zero tolerance of violence against women and children.