Government must take urgent action to tackle domestic violence
Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has called today for the government to take urgent action to tackle domestic violence, in light of the figures released in a report today from Safe Ireland showing a sharp increase in the numbers of women and children seeking support from domestic violence services during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senator Bacik said today:
“As we live through the second wave of this lockdown, and continue to live under Level 5 of the roadmap of restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19, it is obvious that the costs of the pandemic and associated policies have been greater for some than for others. Having to spend more time at home, together with the restrictions on movement and other restrictions have clearly been particularly challenging and even dangerous for people suffering with an abusive partner or relative.
“However, this phenomenon cannot be solely attributed to lockdown. Covid-19 has exposed the frailty in state-infrastructure which aims to prevent and respond to domestic violence. We must see urgent action to help those whose situations have been exacerbated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of the approach to tackling domestic violence during this period has been laudable, such as the Garda Operation Faoiseamh. Initiatives such as Safe Ireland’s partnership with AirBnB to provide free temporary accommodation to survivors of domestic abuse are also to be welcomed.
“Prior to the negotiation of the Programme for Government, organisations in the sector called for a dedicated Minister with responsibility for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. I supported those calls at the time, and still believe that we missed the chance during government formation talks to develop a more targeted approach to addressing domestic and gender-based violence. I am now calling on the Minister for Justice to take urgent targeted actions to address domestic violence, and to ensure that adequate resources are provided for the vital services offering support to women and children so severely affected.”