Safe Ireland & Airbnb launch Domestic Violence ‘Survivor Fund’

Safe Ireland and Airbnb have today announced the launch of the ‘Safe Ireland Survivor Fund’ for domestic violence survivors, refuges, and support centres in Ireland.

The Fund is backed by a €350,000 donation from Airbnb and will provide grants to women and children who are escaping abuse. Funding will be distributed through Safe Ireland’s 39 affiliated services across the country and will also support sustainable and complex-case development work.

The Fund which is made up of donations from Airbnb, the Community Foundation of Ireland, the RTE Toy Show Appeal and The Ireland Funds (Private Donor) will include grants for immediate use, including basic groceries, utility bills, securing a deposit for safe accommodation, car insurance or repairs, or phone credit so that a victim’s contact with friends and family is maintained. Services can also apply for funding for equipment or training, including play pods for children, for example, or innovative and specialist support for high-risk and vulnerable women.

Mary McDermott, CEO of Safe Ireland said:

“Financial control is a core mechanism of coercive control in an abusive relationship. Barriers like access to phone credit, transport or the inability to pay bills, can and do keep women trapped. The Safe Ireland Survivor Fund directly addresses these micro-controls, builds hope and the capacity to act.

“Airbnb has shown generous and creative corporate leadership in working with us from the beginning of COVID-19 to support survivors and services, and we welcome it. However, this Fund cannot address domestic, sexual and gender-based violence as a large-scale social problem. Nor can it replace systematic and thorough-going state response to the abuse of women and children. We thank Airbnb for their frontline response, while Safe Ireland continues to work for the eradication of domestic violence in society as a whole.”

Airbnb has provided Safe Ireland with substantial funding to launch and support the Fund, further deepening their ongoing collaboration since 2020. In June 2020 Airbnb partnered with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to provide free hotel emergency accommodation for domestic violence survivors across Ireland as refuges and services struggled with the pressure of simultaneous increased demand with reduced capacity triggered by health and safety requirements. This emergency accommodation support was extended in June 2021. To date, the initiative has provided over 3,000 bed nights to survivors who may not otherwise have been accommodated.

Jean Hoey, Co-Site Lead for Airbnb in Ireland, said:

“We have been privileged to support the vital work of Safe Ireland and their tireless dedication to helping those faced with domestic violence. For women leaving an abusive home situation, bills and costs can cause a great deal of worry. Through the Survivor Fund, we want to help relieve that pressure and provide financial peace of mind.”

Recent research by Safe Ireland found that the cost of domestic violence to a woman is approximately €113,500, over the course of a 20-year period from abuse to safety. This can include loss of income, unemployment, health costs, legal fees, and the cost of relocation.

Donations to the work of Safe Ireland can be made here.