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'Too Into You' campaign by Women's Aid wins European Citizen's Prize 2021

The European Citizen's Prize was launched by the European Parliament in 2008 to recognise exceptional achievements by Europeans. The 'Too into you' campaign was this year's winner in Ireland.

The campaign began on Valentine's day and ran to International Women's Day 8th March and had a thematic focus (healthy vs unhealthy relationships) but also focussed on the increased risks of abuse (particularly image based sexual abuse) in the context of the pandemic lockdown and the new law to protect victims from this type of crime. It was put forward for consideration by the Irish EPP delegation, chaired by Sean Kelly (Fine Gael/EPP) MEP from Ireland South.

Sarah Benson, CEO, said: "Women's Aid is so proud to be nominated and to receive the European Citizen's Prize 2021 for the Too Into You public awareness campaign for younger women experiencing intimate relationship abuse.  We believe that as a society, we cannot continue to stand over a situation where such a significant number of young women, many minors, are deeply harmed and traumatised at the hands of current or former intimate partners. It is not the entry into adulthood that we want or imagine for our young people. The impact of intimate relationship abuse can mean a young woman dropping out of college or not being able to take up work, experiencing depression, anxiety and attempting suicide.  What is even more worrying, is the fact that over a third of young women who were abused reported that they never told anyone about what is happened because of fear, stigma and shame. It is a very difficult and lonely place to be, and our Too Into You campaign is designed to change that for the better."

Sean kelly MEP, said: "Women’s Aid have been doing tremendous work for almost 50 years, and particularly since the outbreak of the pandemic, to stop domestic violence against women and children in Ireland. Thanks to campaigns like Too Into You and the commencement of Coco’s Law, discussions are taking place across the country about domestic abuse and intimate relationship abuse, and I believe that we are seeing real and positive change as a result.”

About the Too Into You campaign:

Recent research shows that one in five young women in Ireland experience intimate relationship abuse from a partner or ex.  In February 2021, Women's Aid ran a three- week national campaign on social media and in partnership with organisations and individuals to raise awareness of the signs of intimate relationship abuse, including abuse using technology among young adults aged 18 to 25 years. This abuse has taken place online and offline but has been primarily rooted in the digital sphere more recently due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  The campaign promoted the Too Into You Website which hosts a number of resources around intimate relationship abuse for young people such as an online safety guide, a Healthy Relationships Quiz and a Guide to Safety Orders in Intimate Relationships. It also promoted the Women's Aid Online Instant Message Support Service, for direct assistance for anyone experiencing abuse, which is delivered by our trained National Freephone Helpline team. The 24/7 Helpline itself is also well signposted on the site.

Women's Aid