Saturday 24 August 2019

'There is nowhere for them to go' - Domestic violence refuges having to turn away more woman and kids than they're accommodating

(Stock Image)
(Stock Image)

Allison Bray

More abused women and children are being turned away from domestic violence refuges than accommodated due to a severe lack of resources, a Dail committee has heard.

Margaret Martin, Executive Director of the national domestic violence charity Women’s Aid said despite more than 20,000 disclosures of domestic violence against women and children last year alone, there simply aren’t enough facilities available to keep them safe.

More than half (52pc) of women and children who turn to women’s refuges to give them safe haven from a violent partner are being told they are full, she told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs this afternoon.

As a result, their only option was to return to their abuser or become homeless, she told the committee.

“Refuges are turning away slightly more women and children they are accommodating,” she said.

“The problem is there is no where to send them to,” she said.

Yet the very fact they have fled the abusive partner puts them at extreme risk of more abuse, violence and danger, she added.

“We get calls from gardai who say ‘I have a woman with three children who are high risk and there is no where for them to go,” she said after presenting the charity’s ‘Impact Report 2018’ which was published earlier this month.

Often, women in such cases ended up sleeping in their cars or ‘couch-surfing’ with friends or family to escape the perpetrator.

“This was happening even before we had a housing crisis,” she said.

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