independent

Thursday 24 July 2014

Safe houses to give shelter from violence

VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE

Published 23/10/2012|15:16

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TWO SAFE houses are being set up in Sligo town for victims of domestic violence.

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It's hoped they will be opened in December.

Up until now, there has been no accommodation in the area for people desperate to leave violent situations.

The Domestic Violence Advocacy Service (DVAS) has been helping victims since it was founded in 2003.

The organisation welcomed the news as 'very positive'.

So far this year, 58 women have sought accommodation.

A spokesperson for the group said: "We have been working to establish a staffed crisis refuge facility since 2005 but had to put these plans on hold due to lack of funding."

DVAS was founded by 11 women from Sligo and North Leitrim.

The two single family safe houses will be situated in the town.

"Obviously we have to keep the location a secret.

"Unlike most other counties in Ireland , Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan have no refuge or hostel for women and children out of home because of domestic violence."

The only other option was for people to travel to a refuge in another county, go to a B&B, or in a lot of cases, return to the abuser.

"Sadly, in 2011, one half of all women seeking safe accommodation for themselves and their children returned to the abuser because there was nowhere for them to go," the spokesperson pointed out.

DVAS provides services to women in Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan and works closely with Sligo Social Services.

"Domestic violence is a hidden problem. There is a lot of reluctance to face up to it.

"We receive some government funding, but need to supplement the funds ourselves.

"We couldn't have done this without the generosity of Sligo people who have contributed through making direct donations to DVAS and through attending fundraising events organised by DVAS and others on our behalf."

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