Safe Ireland Welcomes First Conviction for Coercive Control by Trial

Safe Ireland said that the first conviction of a man for coercive control, intimidation and multiple assaults on his former partner by trial is a landmark judgement in Ireland.

The national agency working with 39 frontline domestic violence services across the country, said that the conviction by a jury of “peers” indicates that there is a cultural understanding of the crime of coercive control, which is a deliberate and persistent pattern of behaviour over a prolonged period of time designed to achieve obedience and create fear.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, said that it ended any notion that domestic abuse and coercive control is an episodic or once off event.

She commended the woman for the trust she placed in the justice system. She also commended An Garda Síochána for carrying out a thorough investigation which meant that the case could be brought forward by the DPP.

“This is a landmark case in Ireland and we hope that it will encourage many other women living with the terrorising pattern of coercive control to come forward and to know that they will be believed and understood,” Gleeson said.

“This case also sends a strong message to abusive men that if they think that it is acceptable to control, isolate, intimidate or degrade a woman, as this man did on a prolonged basis, they will have to stop this behaviour, or they will be convicted of a very serious crime.”

This week Safe Ireland presented data for the first six months of Covid-19 which showed that nearly 2,000 women and over 400 children looked for support from a domestic violence service every month from March to August 2020.

Nearly 3,500 women contacted a domestic violence service for the first time during initial lockdown – new Safe Ireland report on Covid-19

National agency says that prioritising domestic violence must also mean funding it adequately

A new report from Safe Ireland, called Tracking the Shadow Pandemic, shows that a total of 3,450 women and 589 children who had never, as far as is known, contacted a domestic violence before, looked for support and safety from abuse and coercive control during the first six months of Covid-19, from March to August 2020.

This equates to 575 ‘new’ women and 98 ‘new’ children every month, or 19 new women and 3 children every day. New women and children accounted for 29% and 24% respectively of all those who looked for support from a domestic violence service during the first wave of the Covid crisis.

In total, at least 1,970 women and 411 children received support from a domestic violence service every month over the period. The tracking study is based on data collected monthly by Safe Ireland from its frontline member services, which is continuing through lockdown 2.

Mary McDermott, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, McDermott said that the study traces the tragic story of the shadow domestic violence pandemic that unfolded during the first lockdown. It also underlines the enormous strains that services throughout the country were under, and now continue to be under, as they deal with the impact of lockdown 2.

She said that while Government has continuously name-checked domestic violence as a priority this has not been backed up by the resources and infrastructural modernisation that is needed.

The six month report also shows that 33,941 helpline calls were answered across the country over the period, that’s an average of 184 calls every day. By comparison, in 2018, domestic violence services responded to an average of 147 calls a day. The Covid call rate shows an increase of 25%.

On average, there were 191 women and 288 children staying in domestic violence accommodation (refuge, safe homes and supported housing) each month. At the same time, 1,351 requests for refuge – or 7 requests per day – could not be met as there was no space. However, services worked creatively to find alternative accommodation in the community.

“Since the start of Covid-19 the government has prioritised domestic violence and we have always welcomed this,” McDermott said. “But calling something a priority means that it also has to be name-checked in the national budget, and funded and resourced as a priority.”

“The number of new women and children who came forward during the first lockdown is eye-opening and indicative of the depth of hidden abuse and trauma in this country,” she continued. “Our member services have pulled out all the stops to respond to the increasing and complex needs of women and children since March. But this is on top of decades of coping with impossible conditions and demands. They are at breaking point now and can no longer be expected to work, without clarity, without adequate resources and within an antiquated infrastructure.”

Safe Ireland recommended that €7.5 million was needed for services in Budget 2021 to ensure that they can meet current and growing demands. To date, however, there has been no clarity from Government on how the hard pressed sector is actually going to be funded.

The sector is also looking for the urgent roll out of a funded national service development plan, as the start of a comprehensive and long-term response to the enormous everyday problem of domestic violence, exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdown.

The data collected reflects the anecdotal stories reported by services from March and August. Mirroring what Safe Ireland initially referred to as an ominous silence, the number of women accessing services decreased by 8% between March and April as lockdown restrictions came into full effect. However, since April, the numbers have steadily increased month on month. In July, at least 2,210 women received support from services, the highest amount of any month. August saw the highest numbers of children receiving support at 578, an increase of 36% over July figures.  July and August were also the busiest months for helpline calls. The data collection is continuing and will track activity during the current lockdown period.

Tracking the Shadow Pandemic – The Story from March to August 2020

  • 3,450 women and 589 children contacted a domestic violence service for the first time.
  • On average 1,970 women and 411 children received support from a domestic violence service every month.
  • 33,941 helpline calls were answered – an average of 184 calls every day.
  • Services held 33,624 phone support sessions, 575 video support sessions and 8,143 in-person support sessions.
  • Services received a 2,260 helpline emails, 3,452 texts and 1,047 online chat messages.
  • On average 191 women and 288 children were in domestic violence accommodation each month.
  • 1,351 requests for refuge could not be met due to lack of space.
  • July and August were the busiest months. At least 2,210 women received support from services in July and 578 children received support in August.

 

 

 

 

We are recruiting for a Finance & Operations Manager

Finance & Operations Manager

(3 year Fixed Term – Subject to Funding)

  • High Profile National NGO Advocating Progressive Social Change
  • Opportunity for an experienced and skilled Finance & Operations Manager
  • Attractive Salary Package

The Organisation

Safe Ireland is the National Social Change Agency working to eliminate domestic violence in Ireland. We believe that Ireland can become the safest country in the world for women and children. We believe it is a human right of every single individual to live free from violence. We collaborate in our work with 38 specialist frontline domestic violence services throughout Ireland who are members of Safe Ireland.

Job Description

Reporting to the CEO you will be part of the senior management team of Safe Ireland and be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Safe Ireland, managing the organization’s Finance, Human Resources, Governance Compliance and Administrative functions.

Skills Required

The successful candidate will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining accounts general ledgers.
  • Processing monthly payroll for 20+ staff.
  • Management of cashflow and preparation of monthly cashflow projections.
  • Preparation of monthly management accounts for the Board, to include P&L/Balance Sheet and analysis of variances.
  • Preparation of SORP compliant annual accounts to trial balance stage, and liaising with external auditor.
  • Preparation of Annual Directors Report.
  • Organization of the annual AGM.
  • Preparation of annual budgets.
  • Management of Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable.
  • Processing of all invoices and set up of all EFT bank payments.
  • Management of Company Pension Scheme.
  • Management of Consultant & HR Contracts.
  • Ensure compliance with public procurement guidelines.
  • Preparation of grant/funding applications, Services Level Agreements, contracts and completing all returns (Scheme to Support National Organisations Tusla, HSE, Victims of Crime, Community Childcare Subvention Plus etc).
  • Maintaining the Fixed Asset register.
  • Liaising with banks for all finance matters.
  • Administration of the organizations insurance policy.
  • Ensuring compliance with the Companies Registration Office, Charities Regulator, Lobbying Act, Revenue etc. and ensure all returns and submissions are submitted on time.
  • Developing, implementing and updating all company policies and procedures – financial, governance, human resource, health & safety etc. and ensuring Safe Ireland is in compliance with the Charities Regulator Governance Code and all legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Advanced Excel skills
  • Ensuring Safe Ireland accesses efficient and up-to-date fin/tech and fin/ops management practices.

To Apply

A Candidate Information Pack is available from recruitment@safeireland.ie. To apply for the post complete the application form and return to recruitment@safeireland.ie by 12 noon Wednesday, 25th November 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. It is anticipated that interviews will take place on Thursday, 3rd December 2020.

Safe Ireland welcomes sea-change commitment to dignity and respect at every stage in new Victims of Sexual Violence strategy

Safe Ireland welcomed the strong, underpinning commitment within the new strategy Supporting A Victim’s Journey that victims of sexual violence will be treated with dignity and respect at every step of their journey from the moment of the crime to the end of a prosecution and further legal processes.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working with 39 domestic violence services around the country, said that this fundamental principle, running as a thread through the entire strategy, represented a sea-change in statutory and court responses to the experiences that countless victims may have had over the years.

Supporting A Victim’s Journey: A Plan to Help Victims and Vulnerable Witnesses in Sexual Violence Cases, was launched by the Department of Justice and Equality this afternoon.

Gleeson said that it was important that the Supporting A Victim’s Journey strategy is regarded as a “living document” or one that will evolve as circumstances require. She said that it was vital, given the high volume of domestic violence survivors who experience sexual violence as a weapon of coercive control, that an understanding and recognition of the complexity of domestic violence and coercive control is embedded in the ongoing development of the strategy.

She also warned that while there is a commitment to standardising facilities for victims and other vulnerable witnesses, the reality on the ground is that domestic and sexual violence services were still working within a 19th century infrastructure, but expected to deal with 21st century complexities and crises.

“We welcome the holistic and victim centred approach to this strategy, which we understand will be linked to the planned audit of the infrastructure in place to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and ongoing work to reform family law courts,” she said.  

“We are heartened to see that the strategy specifically highlights the need to ensure that facilities for victims and other vulnerable witnesses should be of a consistent standard. As things stand, however, the facilities and services in place are inadequate, antiquated and ad-hoc. We urgently need a national services development plan.” 

Safe Ireland also welcomed the earlier announcement that the new phase of An Garda Síochána’s Operation Faoiseamh will focus on enforcing breaches of safety orders and ensuring that offenders are brought before the courts. This is an issue that the agency has drawn attention to since the first lockdown in Spring 2020. 

A huge thank you for your unprecedented response to women and children living with abuse

We are all in this together. It was the line that kept us all going through the crisis lockdown months of Covid-19. We all knew that if we were to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and in our families we had to stay at home, stay away from our friends and loved ones and yet stay connected and together as a nation and as communities in social solidarity.

While most of us could retreat safely into our homes as places of sanctuary and respite from the virus that was out there, for women and children now facing the horrendous prospect of being locked down with an abuser, home was anything but a safe haven.

The Shadow Pandemic

On the Ryan Tubridy Show, our Co-CEO Sharon O’Halloran said that she cried when she heard the news about Covid-19 and the immediate plans for lockdown. She knew from the experience of other countries already under lockdown that there was also a shadow pandemic on the horizon – the pandemic of domestic violence and abuse.

From the first announcement of lockdown on March 12th, Safe Ireland’s work switched immediately to ensuring that the 39 Safe Ireland member services were fully supported to stay open and to do everything they could, often under testing circumstances, and with gross under-resourcing, to protect and help women to stay safe or escape abuse and violence in their homes.

Then, something quite extraordinary began to happen.

While isolation and lockdown was not easy for most of us, we collectively began to see and understand the serious dangers that isolation and containment posed for women and children living with controlling tyrants and abusers.

An Amazing Community Response

At Safe Ireland, we had already opened a Covid-19 Emergency Fund to help provide urgent funding directly to women and children through our member services.

Almost immediately, our fund was boosted by extremely generous donations from the Bank of Ireland, through the ongoing support of the Community Foundation for Ireland, and the Ireland Funds. This was the start of a vital and vibrant community response to the issue of domestic violence that we had really never seen before.

Over subsequent weeks, individuals, theatre companies and artists were holding the most creative and imaginative events to, not just fundraise for Safe Ireland, but to raise awareness about the issue.

Singers like Emma Langford and Glen Hansard dedicated funds from stellar performances to the Safe Ireland Covid-19 Emergency Fund.  Noirin Lynch, wrote and dedicated a song to Safe Ireland. Drew Maitland and David Keogan organised Couch Eile, a pop up live music streaming event. The Fregoli Theatre Company staged a unique, thought-provoking performance with all donations going to the fund. Criti-call, a collaboration of professional, voluntary and community groups, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Iveagh Trust, Scouts, Serve the City, An Garda Síochána and others came together to provide essential supports and materials to our services in Dublin and across many other counties.

We began to get exciting inklings about a collaboration by 40 of Ireland’s top female artists, led by the amazing Ruth Anne Cunningham, with the support of MCD, to perform The Cranberries’ (And Delores O’Riordan’s) Dreams to raise money for Safe Ireland. We all now know the phenomenal success that that amazing performance by Irish Women in Harmony has been – it not just gave us a fantastic rendition of a favourite song, it brought the issue of domestic violence into homes, through radios, laptops, and mobile phones throughout the country and raised over €215,000 to be used directly for women and children. It also spun off the best t-shirts we have ever worn with the Beanantee’s ‘Don’t Mess with Mná’ collection.

We have also had amazing corporate support from companies like Airbnb, Boots Ireland, Total Health, Twitter, Revolut and Tesco. In addition to vital in-kind support, they have all worked with us to ensure that the critical message reaches survivors that professional support is available for them, in their own communities. We look forward to furthering these partnerships as we continue to support women and children in a new post-Covid world.

There are many others who have supported us – not least the thousands of individuals who donated through the Dreams campaign and many others.

We have been humbled by your generosity and emboldened by your solidarity, understanding and empathy with women and children living in unsafe homes.

You have shown that, we are indeed, all in this together.

Thank you.

No Junior Minister for Domestic and Sexual Violence Disappointing

Safe Ireland today said that it is disappointed that there is no designated junior Minister for Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the new line-up, particularly considering the prioritisation of this issue and the robust government, community, art and business support that has been shown during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Safe Ireland, which is the national policy and services hub for 39 domestic violence member services across the country, has consistently called for a designated Minister with the whole of Government reach, responsibility and resources needed to respond effectively to this epidemic.

Mary McDermott, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, said that while it has been reported that DSGBV will be held within the new Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, it was, to date, being kept “in the closet”, with little public discussion or championing of its cross-cutting role across many ministerial responsibilities.

She said, however, that the sector remains hopeful and is awaiting continued, meaningful engagement with this new Departmental home and with other actors, as a continuation of the sustained awareness and support generated over the crisis pandemic period.

“It is disappointing that this crucial issue – named in the Programme for Government as an epidemic – did not receive a dedicated Junior Ministry,” she said. “However, over the past few months in particular we have seen an unprecedented awareness, outpouring of support and recognition from businesses, communities, artists and government that people should not have to live with abuse and control.”

“As a sector that has become more united through the pandemic, it is our strongly held belief that this is an issue which can be resolved – but not without a sound infrastructure and a coherent government location with cross departmental reach and resources. We look forward to continuing to work with Government to achieve this,” she concluded.

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Safe Ireland and totalhealth Pharmacies Join Forces in ‘Gateway to Safety’ Initiative as DV needs continue

As the country moves towards fully re-opening after lock-down, Safe Ireland and totalhealth Pharmacies are launching a community-based initiative called Gateway to Safety, to help ensure that survivors of domestic violence can get access to expert support and advice on their main streets.

People experiencing domestic violence and coercive control, and those close to them, are encouraged to come forward to talk in confidence to the team at their local totalhealth Pharmacy where they can be immediately connected with one of the 39 frontline specialist domestic abuse services across the country for free and confidential support and advice.

Safe Ireland’s Co-CEO Mary McDermott said that during lockdown, there was a collective focus on the sanctuary of our homes and a national outpouring of empathy for those trapped in unsafe and controlling environments. Now that we are beginning to move out from our homes again, she said, it was vital that we don’t lift our eyes away from those continuing to live in unsafe homes. She said that post-lockdown domestic violence services had already seen a significant increase in the numbers and complexity of cases coming forward. It was now more important than ever that it easy for women to reach out to the specialist services they need from a variety of community based sanctuaries, like pharmacies. 

Safe Ireland is the national policy and services hub for 39 frontline domestic abuse services working with women and children throughout the country. totalhealth is the largest independently-owned pharmacy chain in Ireland over 80 branches, many of which have been providing care, advice and support to Irish communities for many decades. 

“If we want safe homes, we must have safe communities,” Mary McDermott, Co-CEO said.  “With this partnership with totalhealth, we are making it clear that people do not have to live with domestic abuse and coercive control at any time and that support is available, right here in your community, on your main street, at all times. totalhealth Pharmacies are providing an accessible, safe and confidential space for survivors and those close to them who may be concerned, to be connected with expert help so that they can begin to make a first, simple step to safety and freedom.”

The initiative is part of Safe Ireland’s Safe Homes Safe Communities programme, which aims to bring voice and visibility to the issue of domestic violence into communities by bringing together businesses, statutory groups, community organisations and civil society to change the culture of silence that allows domestic violence to continue. The Gateway to Safety initiative provides information and support to both women and men who are victims of domestic violence.

Commenting on the partnership, Rory O’Donnell, chairperson of totalhealth, said: “It’s so important that people who may have been living with an abuser know that help is available and that their community supports them. We are delighted to be able to join with Safe Ireland and its members in all of our communities to provide a safe, confidential gateway to professional domestic violence advice and supports.”

John Arnold, Managing Director of totalhealth, added “Our pharmacies are rooted in their communities, for generations in some cases. They are involved in caring for local families, their own families have grown up in the area, and they care about the communities in which they live. This partnership is a natural extension of the community support we pride ourselves on.”

During the Covid-19 lockdown period, domestic violence was recognised as a national priority. An Garda Síochána has reported a 25% increase in domestic violence cases over the past three months.

On average each year, Safe Ireland frontline member services, which work primarily with women and children, provide a range of supports to approximately 12,500 people across Ireland. In addition, there are on average 50,000 calls to helplines around the country each year.  However, research also shows that only 21% of women who have experienced intimate partner abuse have reported the most serious incident to police. Safe Ireland wants to change this extreme under-reporting by making it easier for survivors to reach out for support in a variety of community locations.

 

NOTES TO EDITOR:

ABOUT TOTALHEALTH PHARMACY

totalhealth Pharmacy is a cooperative symbol group of community pharmacies throughout Ireland. By working together, we improve the service provided to our patients and our local communities, as well as offering security and support to our members. We represent over 80 pharmacies nationwide and continue to grow.

 ABOUT SAFE IRELAND

Safe Ireland is the national policy and services hub for 39 frontline domestic violence services throughout the country.  We are leading a nationwide movement to end domestic abuse and coercive control – and to make Ireland the safest country in the world for women and children. We want to transform the culture in Ireland so that coercive control and domestic abuse is no longer tolerated in our communities, in our mindsets, in our systems and in our societal structures. 

Airbnb partners with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to offer free accommodation for domestic violence survivors

Airbnb has announced it will partner with Safe Ireland, with the support of Women’s Aid, to assist domestic violence survivors in Ireland at a crucial time when emergency accommodation is particularly needed.

Airbnb will work through its hotel partners to provide temporary accommodation, free of charge, when specialist emergency accommodation (refuge) is not available. Domestic violence services throughout the country will assess the safety needs of survivors before facilitating bookings into the temporary hotel accommodation. All those accommodated as part of this unique initiative will continue to be closely linked in and supported by domestic violence specialists.

Safe Ireland is the national policy and services hub for 39 domestic abuse member services. Safe Ireland will coordinate the initiative with its frontline services and support from the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline. All accommodation costs are sourced and paid for by Airbnb and HotelTonight, part of the Airbnb family.

The partnership comes at a crucial time as Ireland moves towards opening up fully following the COVID-19 lockdown. Capacity in domestic violence specialist accommodation is down approximately 25% because of the need to ensure safe social distancing and to allow for isolation units if needed.

At the same time, domestic violence services are reporting a surge in calls and needs, particularly since the country started to ease restrictions. Many services are reporting that they are responding to the double trauma of lockdown and months of abuse with many seeing a particular increase in women with multiple children coming forward and looking for crisis accommodation in the community.

The timely partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid has received the backing of Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who has been a leading advocate on domestic violence issues in Ireland.

Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said, “We want victims of this horrific crime to know that they are a priority for us and that support is always available. I welcome this valuable new initiative which complements the important work that the Government has undertaken in this area since the start of the pandemic. We are doing everything we can to protect and support all victims of domestic violence, especially now as Ireland re-opens after Covid-19.”

 Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, said, “We welcome the community leadership shown by Airbnb with this partnership. The pandemic has shone a light onto the epidemic of domestic violence that continues in this country. It has also sparked an incredible outpouring of empathy, understanding and support for survivors trapped with abusers. The security of safe accommodation is essential for women and children to be able to make their first step towards freedom and recovery. This generous contribution by Airbnb means that we will be able to support many more women as they come forward following lockdown.”

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid, said, “This is a really welcome, collaborative initiative bringing together the generosity of Airbnb and dedicated specialist domestic abuse organisations to meet the needs of women and children forced to flee their homes because of violence and abuse. The Women’s Aid National Helpline responded to 39% more calls during the crisis compared to the same period in 2019. We are delighted to be assisting referrals through our National Freephone Helpline so that this supplementary accommodation is available 24/7 where refuge may not be an option.”

Jean Hoey, Public Policy Lead for Airbnb in Ireland, said: “In recent months throughout the pandemic, most of us have been confined to the safety of our homes. For those in abusive situations however, that environment can feel more like a prison. We are proud to support the heroic efforts of Women’s Aid, Safe Ireland and local frontline services by offering temporary safe havens for survivors right across the country.”

Similar initiatives were recently launched by Airbnb in the US.

ENDS

 

Welcome for First Programme for Government to recognise the epidemic of domestic and sexual violence

Safe Ireland, the national policy and services hub for 39 frontline domestic violence services across the country, gives a cautious welcome to the draft Programme for Government which acknowledges, perhaps for the first time in such a programme, that there is an “epidemic of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence” and that the infrastructure in place to address it has to be examined. 

Mary McDermott, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, said that while the sector’s call for a dedicated Minister with responsibility for domestic, sexual and gender based violence was not specifically responded to at this stage, the proposal to conduct an immediate audit of how responsibility for DSGBV is segmented across different government agencies is an acknowledgement that the current infrastructure is not fit for purpose. 

She said, however, that in advance of any such audit it was important to put in place a recognised lead actor – ideally a dedicated Minister – with profile and visibility, a whole of Government reach and responsibility and the resources needed to ensure that this audit is far reaching and transformative. 

“Covid-19 has exposed the fragility of the state infrastructure and the deep fault lines that have existed for decades in the state’s response to domestic violence,” she said. “While the commitments in this new Programme for Government answer some of the issues that the sector has raised for many years, it does not address the need for fully resourced coherent oversight, nor the systemic difficulties and challenges that survivors face every day. This programme is a welcome acknowledgement that what we have been doing has not been working and that we can do things differently.” 

“This programme is perhaps the first to send a message to thousands of women and children across the country that they are beginning to be heard,” she said. “It’s a message that they have been waiting for, from successive governments, who have never fully grasped the seriousness and complexity of gender-based violence and have not been prepared to acknowledge that our system for responding to them is broken and needs to be transformed.” 

She said that Safe Ireland welcomes particularly the commitments to include a National Prevention Strategy in the development of the next National Strategy on DSGBV and the commitment to a comprehensive training programme on the crime of coercive control.  It is also encouraging to see that there will be a plan for future refuge space, she said. Safe Ireland is also pleased to see the commitment to investigate paid leave and social protection provisions to victims of domestic violence, as acknowledgements of the financial abuse that pervades domestic abuse and the financial trap that too often stops survivors from finding safety and freedom. 

Finally, Safe Ireland welcomes legislative commitments to introduce Domestic Homicide Reviews and to enact the Harassment & Harmful Commitments Bill to outlaw image-based sexual abuse.

The network will now review the entire final Programme for Government, including the intersection of domestic violence in areas such as health and justice programmes, with its 39 members.

Safe Ireland Welcomes Prioritisation of Rent Supplement for Survivors of Domestic Abuse

Safe Ireland, the national policy and services hub for 39 domestic violence services, welcomed the “swift and positive response” to the sector’s call for the introduction of a Domestic Violence Emergency Rent Supplement.

Mary McDermott, Co-CEO of Safe Ireland, said that the Government’s move today was unique and will now enable women and children fleeing abusive and violent partners to be sheltered quickly and safely, regardless of their circumstances. 

She said that the move recognises particularly the financial abuse which pervades many abusive relationships, and is a significant and welcome recognition that seeking safety from a violent home cannot be contingent on means testing at crisis point.

She praised Minister Regina Doherty and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) for their dedicated work on this issue. She said that Safe Ireland had worked positively with DEASP officials on operational details of this innovation, highlighting the importance of co-operation between Government and experience on the ground.

“Covid-19 illuminated an anomaly that our members had been dealing with for many years that meant that women and children fleeing violent and abusive homes did not access vital rent supplement as a priority group,” she said. “Rent Supplement directly removes the entrapment victims experience and supports them on their journey to an independent, safe and free life. We appreciate that the Minister and officials within the Department recognised this, were open to working with us, and then responded so swiftly and positively.”