Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD today raised Safe Ireland’s latest report on first time contacts with domestic violence services with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.
The Dublin Central TD called on the Taoiseach to urgently provide the additional funding and resources needed to protect and support victims of domestic abuse and their children during the ongoing public health restrictions.
Teachta McDonald said:
“The findings of the Safe Ireland report are alarming. Three and a half thousand women and just under 600 children sought support and safety from abuse and coercive control for the first time.
“Helpline calls to services also increased by 25% during March and August with nearly 34,000 calls answered across the state.
“Between March and June alone over 1,343 requests for refuge went unmet because services were full. Successive governments have refused to address the significant shortage of refuge places which has resulted in Ireland being in breach of its obligations under the Istanbul Convention.
“In advance of the current Level 5 restrictions the Taoiseach reassured me that the provision of additional supports and resources for domestic abuse services would be provided for. This has not happened.
“Safe Ireland, on behalf of their 38 frontline service providers provided the Taoiseach with a detailed briefing on the additional funding and resources they urgently need including onsite testing, access to safe accommodation and a Covid-19 emergency fund.
“Frontline services have undertaken heroic work over the last number of months. The Government needs to not just recognise their efforts; it needs now to get behind them.
“Sinn Féin also supports the sector’s demand for an urgent roll out of a funded national service development plan. Services are historically underfunded, understaffed and refuge places meet only a third of ongoing need. This must change.”