December 3, 2023

Domestic abuse victims ‘let down’ by Government – Kilkenny TD

A Kilkenny TD has called on the Government to provide greater assistance to the victims of domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic and reverse a decision not to provide rent supports.

Sinn Féin poll topper Kathleen Funchion said many women and children are trapped at home with a abusive partner or parent and that more needs to be done to protect them.

Deputy Funchion spoke out after it emerged the Government failed to engage with Safe Ireland, the organistation focused on getting domestic violence higher on the political agenda and creating safe pathways for people to escape their abusers.

The Kilkenny TD said: “Earlier this month, Safe Ireland submitted a detailed proposal to the Minister for Social Protection warning her of the urgent need to enable domestic violence victims to access an emergency rent supplement payment for a period of three months or for the duration of Covid-19 emergency.

“Under this proposal specialist domestic violence service professionals, An Garda Síochána and health professionals, along with the Department would serve as direct referral pathways to this payment. This would provide a formalised and efficient mechanism to provide alternative accommodation for victims in a way that is sensitive to their particular needs.

“Sadly, domestic violence service providers have warned in stark and worrying terms that victims of such crimes are likely to be at greater risk of harm due to the ongoing pandemic.

“Many women and children are trapped at home with an abuser, while options for escape or support have been cut off from them.”

Deputy Funchion added that victims of abuse are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. And she said “we owe it to them” to urgently provide protective services.

The Kilkenny TD (pictured below) said: “Where victims need to urgently relocate they should not face further hoops to jump through.

“Delays can cause further suffering, unnecessary distress and potentially serious risk to their lives.

“The minister’s refusal to progress or even engage with Safe Ireland’s proposal is deeply disappointing and fails to recognise the unique and urgent circumstances of victims’ accommodation needs during the current crisis.

“I am calling on the minister to meet with Safe Ireland so that she can better understand why this failure to meet the housing needs of victims of domestic abuse and their children needs to be urgently addressed,” she added.

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