Kilkenny women's refuge centre is unable to cope with demand

Victims of domestic violence turned away on a regular basis

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

Email:

mary.cody@kilkennypeople.ie

Kilkenny women's refuge centre is unable to cope with demand

Almost one person a day is being turned away from the Amber Kilkenny Women’s Refuge in the city.
Women and children, who are in fear of their lives and trying to seek safety from abusive and violent relationships have nowhere to go because of the housing crisis in the city.
Last year the refuge was forced to turn away 320 referrals and was only able to accommodate 53 new clients. The refuge can cater for seven women and up to 23 children at any time.
The housing crisis has had a huge impact on the ability of the refuge to maintain its core service of short-term emergency accommodation as there is very limited availability of private rented accommodation in the Kilkenny region and the clients of the refuge have found it next to impossible to secure the limited social housing available.
This has resulted in a number of women and their children remaining in the refuge for upwards of 15 months. The refuge has recently accommodated two children from separate families that have celebrated two birthdays in the refuge.
The position is unsustainable for the women and children living in the refuge in accommodation not designed for long-term stays.
Those women and children who cannot access short-term emergency accommodation.
To deal with this a new policy on a length of stay policy of no more than three months for clients accessing the emergency accommodation services of the refuge has been introduced at the refuge.
In a statement issued to the Kilkenny People the board stated that they are ‘conscious of the impact that this may have on clients of the refuge in the event that they are unable to find alternative accommodation within the three-month period’.
“However, it is the role of both national and local government to meet the longer term housing needs of women who have fled a violent home and cannot access private rented accommodation. In the current severe housing crisis the board of the refuge cannot take on the responsibilities of the housing authorities and calls on the people of Kilkenny to lobby their local representatives to deal with the longer term accommodation needs of clients of the refuge as a priority.
“The board would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who support the refuge in different ways, the board is very grateful for the generous support of the community since its establishment.”
Amber was established in November 2001 to provide safe, short-term emergency accommodation to women (and children) in the Kilkenny area who are affected by domestic violence.