04 Jul 2022

More family domestic violence refuges 'urgently' needed in Kilkenny and South East

Kilkenny has one of highest levels of access to refuges

Kilkenny Kilkenny

Almost everyone in Kilkenny is within a 30 minute drive from domestic violence emergency accommodation, a new report has found.

With 97.5% of the local population falling into this category Kilkenny has the highest access level outside the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and County Louth.

An Accomodation Review, commissioned by Tusla and published last week, shows that access is not equal across the country. In comparison access is much lower in some counties - with nobody in Leitrim within that 30 minute window.

Access to emergency family accommodation does need to be improved, according to the report. There were just 36 places in the South East when the report was prepared. The European Commission’s Istanbul Convention (preventing and combating domestic violence) suggests one place for every 10,000 of population. The report says: “At least 60 new family places/units need to be prioritised urgently to address areas of under-provision.”

Amber Kilkenny Women’s Refuge was a member of the stakeholder advisor group that participated in the preparation of the report.

This Accommodation Review provides an overview of the existing provision of refuges and safe accommodation in Ireland, the gaps and challenges in provision and recommendations for interagency planning, collaboration, funding, and delivery into the future.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the extent of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in our communities. State agencies such as Tusla have prioritised the provision of services to victims, and the commitment and flexibility of frontline services has been clearly evident.
Data returned to Tusla by funded services indicates that, in 2018, 4381 enquiries about access to refuge did not result in access to refuge, almost two thirds of these because of a lack of available or suitable space.

The Review lists a number of issues that need to be addressed to improve the provision of safe accommodation for victims of domestic abuse.

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