Bacik calls for urgent action to support survivors of domestic violence
Speaking this morning to launch the publication by the Mercy Law Centre of a report on social housing, domestic violence and the public sector duty, Ivana Bacik TD commended the work of the Centre, and said that:
“In Ireland today we continue to see an intolerable level of violence committed against women, particularly within their own homes. Dr Marie Cassidy’s programme on RTE last night gave us a really harrowing perspective on this. It is long past time for society to ensure that victims of domestic violence are no longer forced to leave their homes – but unfortunately it remains the case that all too often they do leave, and the perpetrators remain. This has to change.
“Today’s report provides invaluable insight into the experiences of those survivors and victims of domestic violence who are forced to flee their homes, and highlights the specific difficulties at the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness and the need for a significant increase in the number of refuge accommodation beds in the country. We in Labour have long campaigned for more refuge spaces to be opened in each county to help victims and survivors of domestic abuse, and to enable them to stay in their communities with the support of friends and family.
“Ireland lags far below the European standard for provision of refuge spaces. We must do more to protect those who need refuge and shelter most at a deeply vulnerable and fraught time. In a series of recommendations, this report provides important guidance on steps that may be taken to support survivors and victims of domestic violence.
“In making explicit links between inadequate supports for victims and survivors and the chronic shortage of housing in Ireland today, this report really exposes how deeply flawed our support system for victims is when it comes to the biggest question of all – where do you go if you are suffering abuse in your home?
“We have failed victims of domestic violence who – in wealthy prosperous Ireland in 2023 – still have nowhere to go.
“And we have failed victims also because in 2023, we still can’t answer the question; why is it women and children who typically have to leave their homes in cases of domestic violence.”