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Intolerable lack of accommodation for victims of domestic violence must be addressed – Mitchell

2 May, 2017 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Dublin Bay North TD Denise Mitchell says the lack of refuge accommodation for those fleeing domestic violence situations must be addressed urgently by the Government.

Deputy Mitchell was speaking following the launch of the ‘Domestic Violence Accommodation Briefing Paper’ by her colleague Eoin Ó Broin TD which aims to address fundamental flaws in the provision of domestic violence accommodation services.

Deputy Mitchell said:

“There is a lack of housing to accommodate those women and children fleeing domestic violence situations. At most just 31% of the current need is being met. That is an intolerable state of affairs.

“The lack of availability of refuge places has led to a situation where many women feel they have only two options: to face homelessness or to face hospitalisation. That is unacceptable.

“We also have the terrifying situation where a woman fleeing an abusive situation – but who jointly owns a property with her abuser – may not be entitled to social housing.

“While recent guidelines by the Department of Housing which allow local authorities to use discretion in such cases are to be welcomed, we do not know the success or failure of this policy if victims of domestic violence who are dependent on emergency accommodation are not counted in official Government figures.”

Commending the document by Sinn Féin's Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, Deputy Mitchell said:

“The recommendations by Sinn Féin include the increased provision for refuge places, flexibility on rent allowance for those transitioning from an abusive situation and policy and procedural guidance to local authorities on their responses to victims of domestic violence.

“These are important and practical recommendations by Sinn Féin to address the lack of provision of domestic violence accommodation services. The Government must recognise that the level of funding for support services for those fleeing domestic violence situations must be increased.” 

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