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The publication of the latest Women’s Aid report is a stark reminder of the State’s lack of investment in refuge centres and other vital supports for at-risk families, according to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, the party’s spokesperson on Justice.

Deputy Murphy said:

“The report for 2019, entitled ‘When Home is Not Safe’, documents a shocking catalogue of violence, with harrowing reports of women being strangled, raped and beaten. Emotional, financial and digital abuse are also highlighted, along with criticism of how some cases are dealt with in the family courts.

“Since the Covid-19 crisis began, we have been repeatedly advised to remain at home to stay safe – but the opposite is the case for women experiencing domestic abuse. The pandemic has compounded the dangers for women and children living with an abuser, with Women’s Aid reporting a 71 percent increase in visits to its website and a 43 percent increase in calls to its helpline between March and the end of June.

“Even before Covid-19 there was a shortage of places in women’s refuge centres but capacity has been further reduced due to social distancing requirements. Ireland lags way behind other European countries in this area, with only one third of the recommended refuge space.

“The 2019 Women’s Aid report shows a worrying increase in disclosures of abuse on the previous year and deserves the immediate attention of the Government, Garda authorities and the courts.

“It demonstrates the necessity for proper resourcing of the frontline services providing support and refuge to ensure that all the women and children affected can come forward and readily access the help they need.”
August 20, 2020

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