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More than 550 women use domestic violence services in just one day

Safe Ireland claims there is a double suffering for women experiencing domestic violence as they are now also feeling the brunt of cuts on statutory agencies.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: John Birdsall/John Birdsall/Press Association Images

ONE IN FIVE women in Ireland face the reality of domestic violence every day, according to Safe Ireland, and they are suffering even more because of cuts to funding.

In the support group’s one-day census on November 4 last year, 555 women and 324 children were accommodated or received support from a domestic violence support service.

However, 18 women could not be helped because of a shortage of funding and space.

The snapshot called “And Just Another Day” showed that 108 women were put up in refuges, while 98 were in transitional housing and 389 women accessed a range of one-to-one or group support services.

The majority of women were Irish (78 per cent) but 35 different nationalities were represented on the day.

The one-day census formed the introduction to the “Now You’re Talking” discussion held with presidential candidates in Dublin today. The event was chaired by Miriam O’Callaghan and Seán Gallagher, Gay Mitchell, Michael D Higgins and Mary Davis presented their visions for a safer Ireland for women and children.

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“At present, women and children are feeling the brunt of statutory agency polices that are often about saving money over safety,” says Sharon O’Halloran, director of Safe Ireland.

The organisation is calling for a complete overhaul of the current system to ensure the needs of women and children are put centre stage.

We have to go beyond numbers to acknowledge that each statistic represents a crime against a woman, a mother, an expectant moth, a toddler or a teenager, each living with fear, brutality and uncertainty in their homes.”

In 2010, a total of 7,235 women and 2,850 children received support from a Safe Ireland member service. Earlier figures from the group showed that on more than 3,000 occasions, services were unable to accommodate women or children because the refuge was full or there was no refuge in the area.

Read: Domestic violence services at ‘tipping point’>

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