Cork South West TD, Holly Cairns, has highlighted the need for immediate action on supporting victims and survivors of domestic violence. Cork City and County has one domestic violence refuge, which has six units for families; however, due to Covid-19 restrictions that has now been reduced to two units. Holly has called on the Minister for Justice and Equality to provide a more coherent and fully-resourced system to address the surge of gender-based violence.

Holly said:

“At a time when domestic violence related calls to gardaí have increased by 25%, Cork’s shamefully inadequate refuge space has been reduced by 66%. I have asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to address this shortcoming immediately. I have been working with local support organisations, such as the West Cork Women Against Domestic Violence Project, since being elected to the Council and now as a TD, it is truly shocking how underfunded this sector is.

“Over the last week we’ve seen horrific details emerging about the epidemic of gender-based violence in Ireland. From the violence and institutional failures suffered by the Reilly family in Tipperary and the tragic killing of Jean Eagers, to the recent #MeToo disclosures on social media, and the results of the NUIG USI study which exposed the terrifying rates of rape and sexual assault amongst college students. Regrettably, as predicted,we have also seen the increase in domestic violence since lockdown was initiated. We need to have a coherent, fully resourced response to ensure all of the women, children, and men affected, feel they can come forward – That they will be believed and supported.

“Organisations who support victims and survivors of domestic violence are seeking a single department with one point of contact and one funding model. At the moment they are forced to deal with numerous departments and agencies creating unnecessary barriers. This failure in joined-up thinking was demonstrated recently by the struggle to get an emergency rent supplement for victims in immediate need of accommodation. We need a single section within a key department that will harness the required expertise and investment to tackle this issue.”

26th June 2020

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