Victims of domestic violence can access Rent Supplement without means test

Victims of domestic violence can access Rent Supplement without means test
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Victims of domestic violence will be able to access Rent Supplement without a means test.

Under changes announced by the Department of Social Protection, victims of domestic violence can get immediate access to Rent Supplement for a three-month period to ensure they are not prevented from leaving their home because of financial concerns.

The Department said the usual Rent Supplement means test will not apply to this period.

After that, a further three-month extension may be provided, subject to the usual Rent Supplement means assessment.

After six months, if the tenant has a long-term housing need, they can apply to their local housing authority for social housing supports and, if eligible, will be able to access housing assistance payment.

Garda statistics show that the number of calls for help relating to domestic violence increased by 25% this year, while more than 100 people were charged in the last two weeks of May as part of a new crackdown on violence in the home.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said the current restriction on movement and the increased confinement of many people to their homes “has brought the issue of domestic abuse into stark relief”.

“As a long-time advocate on behalf of those who suffer from such abuse, I am determined that no-one should suffer additional trauma during the current health emergency,” she said.

Co-chief executive of domestic violence charity Safe Ireland Mary McDermott said the new supports will particularly help women experiencing financial abuse.

“The new measures will enable women and children fleeing violent partners to be sheltered quickly and safely regardless of their circumstances, and directly addresses, in particular, the financial abuse which pervades many abusive relationships.”

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