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"There's certainly no secret about us. It's very likely that at any one time, somebody is watching the building.

At Cuan Saor, they don't underestimate the importance of normality, particularly when children are involved.

Large families can be accommodated as three of the four apartments have two bedrooms and there is any number of beds, bunks, sofa beds, and cots that can be put into use if needed.

"For others, it's still a very early stage in the process. She might be an emergency admission in the middle of the night and have no bigger plan than just getting away to somewhere safe."

Another issue that can arise is what to do about older male children. The refuge can't take boys once they reach the age of 18, but mothers fear leaving a Nike Lebron Basketball Shoes 2017

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Nike Metcon 2 Black And White

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"We are in touch a lot with other refuges and we'll arrange for a woman to go elsewhere if we can't get her in here, but we'll also get her back here as soon as we have space because it's important for continuity that she's close to her local services and doesn't have to tell her story over and over again."

The only men let in are tradesmen, known representatives of the St Vincent de Paul and other charities that support the refuge and the occasional father of a victim.

"There's a pub across the road and if you sit inside the window, you have a great view of our front door.

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INSIDE the refuge is a sophisticated system of door locks, intercoms, panic buttons, surveillance screens that monitor the entrances, and the alarm system that would trigger if any of them were breached.

At the refuge, safety is paramount, so it might come as a surprise that this one, Cuan Saor, one of 20 in the country, is on a busy shopping street in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, rather than hidden away in some remote location.

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Nike Metcon 2 Black And White

They can come and go as they please, although they must check in and out with staff for safety, and while there is a 10pm Nike Metcon 2 Black And White curfew, exemptions apply for genuine reasons.

"We advertise our service as short term crisis accommodation but we don't define it more than that.

community welfare office, the library everyday things so it keeps some bit of normality for them."

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These are normally the tools of confinement but here, they represent liberation. The women who come here are breaking free from domestic violence, and while this may be a restricted space, it opens up limitless possibilities.

son behind.

"We had a hamster for a while once, a child got it for Christmas, but we're not set up for animals. That is an issue. It stops some women leaving because he'll take it out on their pet. How do you get around that?"

But the main reason the refuge doesn't take in every woman who approaches is that it simply can't cope with the demand.

For others, the experience is not so dramatic. The refuge is a temporary respite from one of the more intense episodes of abuse and they'll head home once they feel the storm has abated.

Partners of the women do not get past the door. No exceptions.

grandmothers or other close relatives, but only in a communal area away from the apartments.

"Every case is individual," says manager, Geraldine Mullane.

Most were at some stage in the process of ending an abusive relationship and the refuge would like to think it could be the safety net for them all if accommodation became a requirement.

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"It also means the women are close to shops, doctors, schools, the Nike Metcon Wolf Grey Volt

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The high walled back garden is a sanctuary in itself and the indoor playroom is a joyful mix of toys, activity space, art, and self affirming posters.

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First step to life of freedom

There used to be bedrooms with shared kitchen, laundry and living space, but they have been converted to four self contained apartments so the women have privacy and independence and can cook, clean and relax on their own schedule.

"But there is safety in being so central. The Garda station is around the corner and there is CCTV on this street. You're not isolated. If somebody kicks off at the door, they are not going to stay there very long or they're going to become very obvious to people.

The cost of staying is 5 per night or 30 per week, but nobody is turned away.

The refuge accommodated 78 women and 91 children last year, but it had a total of 401 women using its services which include outreach clinics, court accompaniment, advice, workshops and child supports.

"It's about a process. For some women, coming here is nearly the end of the process because she's been making plans to leave her partner for some time.

Still, it won't suit every woman to stay here. The refuge can't take pets for example.

Some female visitors are allowed, usually Nike Kyrie One Dream

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