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Government must live up to Istanbul Convention commitments

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Labour Party Spokesperson for Equality, Cllr. Deirdre Kingston has described as ‘disheartening’ reports today that Ireland has the inadequate provision of accommodation for victims of domestic violence. Cllr. Kingston is calling for dedicated capital funding for every local authority to be used for domestic violence accommodation.

Cllr. Kingston said:

“Last week I called on the government to make dedicated capital funding available to every Local Authority for the provision of Domestic Violence accommodation. This week the Council of Europe has pointed out that under the terms of the Istanbul Convention Ireland does not have enough refuge spaces for victims of Domestic Violence.

“Tusla’s claim that one refuge place per 10,000 women as being sufficient, has been criticized by the Council of Europe, and it is somewhat disheartening just days after the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, that a major State body with responsibility for domestic violence accommodation clearly doesn’t know what is required of them.

“While it may have been a nice photo opportunity for Fine Gael to ratify the Istanbul Convention on International Women’s Day, surely they should have ensured that we were prepared to meet the minimum requirements of the convention in advance.

“Labour is proposing that the Department of Housing and Local Government make dedicated capital funds available to every Local Authority in the country. We have dedicated budgets for other types of housing, such as Traveller Accommodation, Step Down and the just-announced plan for housing older people, so why not for domestic violence accommodation? We currently do not have a dedicated women’s refuge in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and according to a report there are a further nine counties without a refuge.

“Domestic violence is a phenomenon that disproportionately affects women. Given that one in seven women in Ireland have experienced domestic abuse, whether it is physical, emotional or psychological, there is clearly a glaring gap in emergency accommodation. Women leaving an abusive relationship have few options available to them in the majority of counties in Ireland. Our current housing crisis is only serving to exacerbate the situation.”

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