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Thursday 27 July 2017

Homelessness threat means women won't leave abusive relationships

Women are staying in dangerous situations as they have nowhere to go. Stock picture
Women are staying in dangerous situations as they have nowhere to go. Stock picture

Laura Lynott

The fear of homelessness is believed to be one of the main factors stopping women leaving violent and abusive relationships - with an average of 14 being turned away from refuges every day.

Domestic violence workers are growing increasingly concerned about the housing crisis, as women struggle to get into refuges, which are often full to capacity.

Women who are ready to move on after time in a refuge are being stopped from doing so, according to one Women's Aid representative, who said many landlords were unwilling to accept the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) .

"We get regular calls from families - and I'd love to say we can meet their needs, but if we don't have room, we can't," said Lisa Marriman, from Women's Aid, Dundalk, Co Louth.

"We regularly have approaches from women in life-threatening situations with children, but there's nowhere for them to go."

Statistics released in 2015 by Safe Ireland - the umbrella group for more than 40 women's shelters in Ireland - showed 4,831 were refused refuge nationally because facilities were full.

"No priority is given to women escaping life-threatening living situations on a council list in this country," Ms Marriman said.

In research released last week by Dr Paula Mayock - from the school of social work and social policy, Trinity College - and Joanne Bretherton - from the centre for housing policy - at the University of York, attention was drawn to the role that domestic violence plays in bringing about homelessness.

Irish Independent

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