Friday 23 March 2018

In one day, 700 sought refuge from violence at home

Suzanne Doyle
Suzanne Doyle
Simone and Nathalie George at the SAFE event in Meeting House Square, Dublin
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

DOMESTIC violence services are at "breaking point" as 700 women and children sought help in just one day last year.

SAFE Ireland yesterday issued its sixth annual 'On Just One Day' census, which was carried out on November 5 last year.

The report found that 467 women and 229 children accessed 37 different frontline support services on that day.

Twenty-four of these women were pregnant, and 16 could not be accommodated in a refuge as there was not enough space.

And almost 14pc of these women were under the age of 25, while seven were over 65. Some 109 women made contact with the helpline.

Speaking at the event, SAFE Ireland chief executive Sharon O'Halloran said that the issue of domestic violence needs urgent investment.

"Seventy per cent of women who experience domestic violence don't tell anyone, so these statistics are really the tip of the iceberg," she explained.

"Since 2009, there has been €2m taken out of services, we are at breaking point. We just can't sustain this anymore. This issue needs investment and it needs it urgently."

She is calling for the Government to sign the Istanbul Convention, the European Convention that aims to combat domestic violence against women across Europe.

Suzanne Doyle works with Dublin 12 Domestic Violence Service and she said that speaks to women everyday who are at the hands of abuse and torment, and that the issue is just getting worse.

"Housing is one big issue. Sexual abuse is on the increase as well. And violence is getting worse, it's more aggressive and it's more intensified," she said.

Senator Averil Power said that she would like to see the Government "put the resources in place and the budgets restored".

"I was shocked to hear that last year, 3,500 sought help from a refuge and had to be turned away because of government cuts over the last number of years.

"We need to see the funding put in place to see that there are sufficient refuges right around the country, and we need to see our laws changed so that we are stronger on domestic violence."

Irish Independent

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