Mar 8, 2022
Domestic abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse and comes from a family member or a loved one. This harm was only exacerbated by the Covid 19 Pandemic which left many trapped with their abuser. The state can support survivors by implementing the following changes:
1. Ireland only has 141 of the 476 women’s refuge beds we are obligated to provide under the Istanbul Convention. We ask for the government to meet its commitment of providing 400 more refuge beds, with particular reference to Carlow, Cavan, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Sligo which do not have any.
Furthermore, we wish for the Minister to present an independent review analysing how many further spaces are needed beyond to ensure all survivors of domestic abuse can seek safety.
2. We urge Ireland to create its first gender-neutral and men’s shelters to accommodate male victims of domestic abuse and those among the LGBTQIA+ community.
3. A State commitment to supporting Safe Ireland’s Survivors Fund. We want the Dáil to recognise that previous financial control suffered by abuse victims is a long-term issue. Money that helps survivors pay for essentials such as food, rent and phone credit must be considered in the budget.
4. We ask for the State to implement the UK’s ‘Ask for ANI’ (Action Needed Immediately) campaign, which provides discreet support for domestic abuse survivors. This codeword scheme enables victims of domestic abuse to access help from the police, or other support services, from the safety of their local pharmacy.
5. Ban conversion therapy. This is the practice or treatment by a person who seeks to change, suppress or eliminate sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Furthermore, we recognise this as a domestic abuse issue as it is often family who seek to invalidate younger LGBTQIA+ members.
We urge the Oireachtas to pass the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018.
6. Recognise domestic abuse as a cause of homelessness. A study carried out by Focus Ireland found that 67% of surveyed homeless women had experienced intimate partner violence. We ask the government to ensure accommodation for all people escaping dangerous home environments.
Please consider creating a system where unused property or holiday houses can be registered as emergency accommodation at certain periods during the year. This would make better use of vacant property and limit disruption for families who would otherwise be displaced.
The owner of this accommodation could receive a tax credit or State payment of some form.
It would guarantee everyone has a bed every night, reducing pressure to stay in abusive homes and would build a community response to a community issue.