Twice as many victims of domestic violence turned away as accommodated - Ó Snodaigh
Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called on the Government to increase mainstream funding for the provision of refuge places for women victims of domestic violence. Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his call after receiving a response from the Health Service Executive that acknowledged a severe shortfall in places and indicated that twice as many women were being turned away from centres as were being treated. He said the figures provided were "deeply depressing."
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "First of all I would like to thank the Health Service Executive for the comprehensive response they have provided but I would again like to express my deep dissatisfaction that it has taken so long to get this answer.
"I originally posed this question to the Minister for Health in early December last year. It is now almost June. Over six months have elapsed. That is not acceptable and certainly does nothing to enable elected legislatures, from all parties, fulfil their duties. The ducking of responsibility by the Minister for Health, Mary Harney has to end. In the end of the day the buck stops with her.
"In relation to the central issue of domestic violence against women and women's refuges it is deeply depressing to see that there doesn't seem to have been much progress made since 2001. At that time 1,104 women were refused accommodation in the three women's refuges in the eastern region because of a lack of space. The latest figures available from the end of 2004 show that 1,144 had been refused accommodation because of a lack of available spaces and there is no indication that this figure has been improved upon in 2005.
"The fact that in the three centres covered by the HSE response show that almost twice as many women were turned away as were accommodated indicates a massive problem of under-resourcing. It can not be left up to voluntary groups to scrounge around for funding from a variety of sources. There needs to be mainstream government funding channelled directly and speedily into providing additional places immediately."
Response from HSE attached...
Relevant section of HSE response
(received by Aengus Ó Snodaigh's office on 16th May 2006)
In 2001, 1104 women were refused accommodation in the three women's refuges in the eastern region because of lack of space (Kelleher Associates 2001). The following table indicates a continuing problem of women seeking refuge space who are unable to be accommodated.
2004 Figures for Refuges Easter Region 2004
Number of Women
Number of Children
Number refused due to lack of accommodation