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Supports remain available for those at risk of domestic violence over Christmas – Carroll MacNeill

New refuge developments being rolled out for victims of domestic violence

21st December 2022 - Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

New refuges will be made available in different parts of the country to support victims of domestic violence over the coming two years. In the interim, crucial supports remain available for victims of Domestic Violence, particularly over the Christmas period, according to Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill.

Deputy Carroll MacNeill said the development reaffirms Government’s commitment to tackling domestic, gender and sexual based violence and to increasing refuge spaces comprehensively in every county across the country.

Deputy Carroll MacNeill, Fine Gael’s equality spokesperson, said: “It is vital that victims of domestic violence know that services and supports are available when they need them and acutely when they require shelter in an emergency situation.

“At no time is this more apparent than at Christmas which generally sees a marked increase in domestic abuse incidents when victims and in some cases their children often spend more time in the presence of an abusive partner.

“Provisional figures highlight a 9% increase in domestic violence reports to date this year, with almost 50,000 incidents already reported. Gardaí will continue to make contact with victims to provide reassurance, support and to offer the assistance of local and specialised resources over the holidays.

“Separate data released to me through parliamentary question reveals there are 44 services providing support to victims of domestic violence, 21 of whom provide safe accommodation in refuges.

“Currently, the number of specialist domestic violence accommodation units/family spaces is 181, including 149 refuge units and 32 safe home units.

“I’m pleased to be informed that ten locations have been identified as priority for new refuge developments that will deliver 82 new spaces from now to 2025. This includes Wexford where works are beginning before year end as well as Dún Laoghaire Rathdown where identification of a suitable site is under way.

“This year in the Dáil, I have named the 249 women who have died at the hands of men as identified by Women’s Aid, and those who remain missing.

“There is important coverage on national media on the issue of Domestic Violence, including “Until Death” a three-part documentary on Virgin Media and the ‘eye-opening’ documentary, “Undercover: Sexual Harassment – The Truth” on Channel 4.  However we have seen from a Garda review that the majority of murders in Ireland in 2021 had a domestic abuse motivation. This is astonishing.

“So we can ensure additional funding is continually secured to tackle DSGBV, we can ensure appropriate an appropriate RSE programme is in place in schools, we can support the Zero Tolerance Strategy that was launched earlier this year. But at the end of the day, abusers simply have to stop. They have to stop harassing victims, stop raping victims, stop stalking victims. Just stop,” Deputy Carroll MacNeill concluded.

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