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Social Democrats TD for Cork South-West, Holly Cairns, believes that Ireland needs to look at international models when it comes to providing improved supports and services to victims of domestic violence.

Holly said:

“The week’s Safe Ireland report highlighted a worrying increase in people fleeing domestic violence. The figures included 3,450 women and 589 children who were contacting a domestic violence service for the first time. This is a deeply disturbing trend which requires a rapid response from the Government.

“Support organisations and researchers warned about this expected increase at the early stages of the pandemic. Since then I have sought additional investment from the Government and for emergency powers to be put in place for barring orders.

“Domestic violence shelters and support organisations have been doing incredible work during the pandemic and are now facing further challenges due to the current lockdown.

“However, it is also important to reassure all those affected that help is out there and they will be listened to and assisted.

“Another issue that has arisen is how the Government calculates the amount of refuges that are required. I am surprised that the Minister is still insisting on the use of the standard of one shelter space for every 10,000 women, rather than one shelter for every 10,000 as outlined in the Istanbul Convention. This results in the State only providing half the amount of refuge shelters that are required.

“Minister O’Gorman’s reply to my question on this matter may be technically correct – but it is simply not good enough.

“I am also researching the possibility of domestic violence leave being brought in to help victims to escape from abusive or dangerous situations. We should look at models in New Zealand and Canada so we can provide better help to those suffering from domestic violence.”

November 12, 2020

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