ON ONE DAY in 2013, 467 women and 229 children – over 700 people – were receiving accommodation and support from a domestic violence service in Ireland, according to the 2013 SAFE Ireland One-Day Census.
The numbers, which SAFE Ireland CEO Sharon O’Halloran said were in reality “the tip of the iceberg” were taken over a 24-hour period on Tuesday, November 5, last year.
O’Halloran said that if there was anything that distinguished that day it was that “it was a quiet one for most of the 37 domestic violence services participating in the census”.
Of the total, 115 women and 155 children were accommodated in refuge and a further 16 women could not be admitted to a refuge because there was not enough space.
Over the 24 hours, 109 helpline calls – nearly five calls every hour – were answered by domestic violence services throughout the country.
Twenty-four of those women were pregnant and the majority of those – 305 – were aged between 26 and 45.
However, 64 were young women under 25 and 17 women were over 56, including seven who were over the age of 65.
Sharon O’Halloran also stressed that on this one day, nearly 700 people were homeless or were at risk of homelessness because their own homes were not safe places to be.
Victims of domestic violence are not explicitly recognized in Irish housing legislation or provision, as they are in other jurisdictions.
“The reality is that women and children are made homeless by domestic violence.” she said.
“They are a unique group within the homeless population because they are fleeing crimes. We are calling on the Government to amend and develop housing legislation and to expand the definition of homelessness to include victims of domestic violence so that they can be catered for quickly.”
SAFE Ireland is holding a photocall this afternoon in Temple Bar Square at 1.15pm and are hoping for 467 women to show up.