Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne has criticised the historical lack of funding and resources provided by the Government to women’s refuges.
There are only 144 spaces available across the country. According to Safe Ireland there were roughly 1,500 requests for accommodation in six months alone last year. One refuge was only able to accept 1 in every 4 requests made for accommodation.
Teachta Wynne said:
“The historical and sustained lack of appropriate funding for women’s refuges is very telling of this Cabinets commitment to women’s rights.
“Research shows that reports of domestic violence rose by roughly 25% last year while demand for services increased by 40% meaning that many women did not report the violence they were subjected to.
“Ashamedly, in June of this year the news broke that over 3,000 domestic violence calls were answered across the country. 22 of these originated from Clare. We have been reassured by An Garda Síochána that these calls were retrospectively ‘followed up on’ but what that excuse fails to recognise is that the damage has already been done.
“The woman was left unassisted during a violent and threatening situation; her confidence has been eroded both in herself and the protective forces supposedly there to protect her. If there were children present, they have been exposed to an Adverse Childhood Experience which has extremely negative knock-on effects later in life.
“Locally, Clare Haven Services Ltd. provides invaluable service to at risk women and children. However, a consistent funding stream that they had been in receipt of for many years was cut by almost 64% in 2020 which has compromised their capacity to provide childcare since. This funding has just been restored to 2019 levels but it just shows how precarious women’s refuges can be in offering the essential services they offer.
“Safe Ireland data shows that protective orders were breached more than 4,000 times in 2020. The childcare services provided by Clare Haven are to facilitate women to present in court to secure protection orders, without which they are left exposed to a very real risk of harm.
“The state is failing vulnerable women and children by not increasing accommodation, by not adequately funding childcare in refuges and by refusing to investigate the barriers in the criminal justice system that are jeopardising their safety.”