Safe Ireland has said it is concerned that domestic abuse victims are being overlooked in the national response to Covid-19.
Safe Ireland, the national social change agency, said it is growing increasingly concerned that the Government is failing to respond adequately to the urgent needs of women and children experiencing domestic violence and coercive control amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The agency submitted a proposal for emergency funding of €1.6m to ensure that services can properly respond to the needs of women and children during the crisis.
It said that a definite response has not been received.
Safe Ireland, which 38 member domestic violence services across the country, said the emergency funding would be used to help accommodate women safely within the community, to ensure PPE, necessary technology and to provide for adequate professional staff.
“We have an untenable situation at the moment, where women and children are living in communal refuges, with shared kitchens and bathrooms,” a spokesperson said.
“These are potential sites for an outbreak of Covid-19. The women and children in these refuges should be moved into safe, self-contained accommodation as part of the emergency national response.”
“Overall the capacity of our emergency accommodation services is down about 20% because we have to leave some units as isolation spaces."
The spokesperson suggested identifying Airbnb accommodation or other housing stock in the community as one possible way to accommodate all women and children safely.
Last Friday, the agency also submitted a proposal to the Department of Social Protection that women and children in need of immediate relocation as a result of domestic violence are facilitated to access emergency rent supplement for a period of three months and/or the duration of the Covid-19 emergency.