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.”