On Just One Day, 467 women and 229 children – over 700 people – were receiving accommodation and support from a domestic violence service in Ireland, according to the 2013 SAFE Ireland One-Day Census, released today.
The shocking numbers, which SAFE Ireland CEO Sharon O’Halloran said were in reality “the tip of the iceberg” highlight the daily impact and enormity of the problem of domestic violence in this country. The Census was taken over a 24-hour period on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013. She said that if there was anything that distinguished that day it was that it was a quiet one for most of the 37 domestic violence services participating in the census.
Of the total, 115 women and 155 children were accommodated in refuge. A further 16 women could not be admitted to a refuge because there was not enough space. Over the 24 hours, 109 helpline calls – that’s nearly five calls every hour – were answered by domestic violence services throughout the country. Twenty-four women were pregnant. The majority of those – 305 – were aged between 26 and 45. However, 64 were young women under 25 and 17 women were over 56, including seven who were over the age of 65.
Sharon O’Halloran also stressed that on this one day, nearly 700 people were homeless or were at risk of homelessness because their own homes were not safe places to be. Victims of domestic violence are not explicitly recognized in Irish housing legislation or provision, as they are in other jurisdictions, she said.
“The reality is that women and children are made homeless by domestic violence.” she said. “They are a unique group within the homeless population because they are fleeing crimes. We are calling on the Government to amend and develop housing legislation and to expand the definition of homelessness to include victims of domestic violence so that they can be catered for quickly.”
“Access to safe accommodation whether that’s emergency refuge or long-term housing, is the most pressing need for most women and children forced to leave their unsafe homes. Instead of being accommodated, however, they are being met with unacceptable barriers and hurdles that are forcing too many to have to return to the violence they came from.”
She said that emergency accommodation was at crisis point. The numbers of women being accommodated in refuge has increased by 29% since 2009 with little or no expansion to existing units. In addition, she said that the Habitual Residency Condition (HRC), whereby women have to prove residency status, was placing undue hardship on women and children.
SAFE Ireland stressed that the figures within the Census document the women and children who sought and received support – a figure, which is dwarfed by undisclosed prevalence, it said. A recent EU-wide survey showed that a 70% of Irish women did not contact any organisation following the most serious incidence of violence. That survey showed that 26% – 394,325 women – had experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.
SAFE Ireland is the national network of domestic violence services in Ireland. On Just One Day – the national one-day census for November 5th 2103 – is the sixth SAFE Ireland one-day count. It is a recognized 24-hour snapshot of the numbers seeking support and the range of supports provided by domestic violence services daily.
For more information contact: Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207
On Just One Day – Daily Impact of Domestic Violence
- 467 women were accommodated and/or received support.
- 229 children were accommodated and/or received support.
- 115 women and 155 children were accommodated in refuge.
- 16 women could not be accommodated in refuge because there was not enough space.
- 24 women were pregnant.
- 109 helpline calls were received.
- 114 very young children were in child-care services operated by domestic violence services. 91 children attended play therapy or development and 34 children were receiving homework support.
- 26 women were accompanied to court, 6 were accompanied to the Gardai and 35 were referred to legal aid or legal services.
- 29 women were accompanied or referred to medical services.
- 64 women were under 25 and 7 women were over 65 years of age.