April 27, 2020
Minister for Social Protection must provide Covid-19 Rent Supplement Payment for Domestic Violence victims – Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has urged the Minister for Social Protection to reverse her decision not to provide a Covid-19 domestic violence rent supplement payment.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Earlier this month, Safe Ireland submitted a detailed proposal to the Minister for Social Protection warning her of the urgent need to enable domestic violence victims to access an emergency rent supplement payment for a period of three months or for the duration of Covid-19 emergency.

“Under this proposal specialist domestic violence service professionals, An Garda Síochána and health professionals, along with the Department would serve as direct referral pathways to this payment. This would provide a formalised and efficient mechanism to provide alternative accommodation for victims in a way which is sensitive to their particular needs.

“Sadly, domestic violence service providers have warned in stark and worrying terms that victims of such crimes are likely to be at greater risk of harm due to the ongoing pandemic. Many women and children are trapped at home with an abuser, while options for escape or support have been cut off from them. 

“We owe it to them to work urgently to provide specific services to help them at this time of crisis. Where victims need to urgently relocate they should not face further hoops to jump through. Delays can cause further suffering, unnecessary distress and potentially serious risk to their lives.

“The Minister’s refusal to progress or even engage with Safe Ireland’s proposal is deeply disappointing and fails to recognise the unique and urgent circumstances of victims’ accommodation needs during the current crisis.

“I am calling on the Minister to meet with Safe Ireland so that she can better understand why this failure to meet the housing needs of victims of domestic abuse and their children needs to be urgently addressed.”  

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