Dedicated capital funding needed for Domestic Violence Accommodation

06 March 2019

Labour Equality Spokesperson and Dáil Candidate, Cllr. Deirdre Kingston (Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown) has called for Minister Murphy to make capital funding available to every local authority in the country via the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government specifically for the provision of domestic violence accommodation.

Currently, there are only 21 women’s refuges in operation in Ireland. Cllr. Kingston has also called for the Department to begin collecting data on the numbers of women, and families, made homeless due to domestic violence.

Cllr. Kingston said:

“This began as a local issue for me, as we currently do not have a dedicated Women’s Refuge in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. I have a motion down at the next Council meeting to request a meeting with officials from the Department of Housing to make a case for capital funding for a domestic violence refuge in the county. We have dedicated budgets for other types of housing, such as Traveller Accommodation, Step Down and the just-announced plan for housing older people, so why not for domestic violence accommodation?

“Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is not the only local authority without dedicated domestic violence accommodation. According to recent reports, there are currently 10 counties with no refuge. Domestic violence is a phenomenon that disproportionately affects women. Given that one in seven women in Ireland have experienced domestic abuse, whether it is physical, emotional or psychological, there is clearly a glaring gap in emergency accommodation. Women leaving an abusive relationship have few options available to them in the majority of counties in Ireland.

“Our current housing crisis is only serving to exacerbate the situation, with women not being able to find accommodation which would allow them to leave an abusive relationship. We also know that victims of domestic violence are not being counted in the official homelessness figures for political reasons.”

“Research has indicated that requests from women for safe accommodation go unmet every day due to a lack of accommodation. With the ongoing housing crisis, there is every reason to believe the situation may have worsened rather than improved in recent times.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Domestic Violence & Emergency Accommodation Provision

Women in violent and controlling domestic relationships have few options available to them in the majority of counties in Ireland. Our current housing crisis is only serving to exacerbate the situation with women not being able to find accommodation which would allow them to leave an abusive relationship.

We know from the work done by SAFE Ireland that 1 in 3 women reported some form of psychological violence by a male partner, and one in four have experienced physical, and sexual violence by a male partner. 

Those experiencing domestic violence have a unique set of needs to be addressed and the rules which traditionally apply to emergency accommodation applicants do not take into account the circumstances of domestic violence victims (e.g. home ownership)

Capital Funding

Every Local Authority should have a dedicated budget for Domestic Violence Housing

Labour is calling for Minister Murphy to make capital funding available to every Local Council in the country for the provision of domestic violence accommodation.

Currently, there are only 21 Women’s Refuges in operation in Ireland, which is only 31% of the required capacity. The Department of Housing should make a capital grant available to every council in the country specifically for the provision of domestic violence accommodation.

Data Collection

Accurate data is essential for adequate accommodation provision

Labour is also calling for the Department of Housing to collect data on those made homeless as a result of domestic abuse. We also know that victims of domestic violence are not being counted in the official homelessness figures for political reasons.

Domestic violence is a phenomenon that disproportionately affects women. EU statistics indicate that one in five women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

If we are to adequately provide for necessary accommodation for those leaving domestic abuse, we need to gather the most basic information such as the number of women and families presenting to homeless services.

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