Máiría Cahill calls for housing for domestic violence victims

Labour Senator outlines case of victim who will be homeless by Christmas

Labour Senator Máiría Cahill. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Labour Senator Máiría Cahill. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

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A victim of domestic violence will find herself homeless two weeks before Christmas, Labour Senator Máiría Cahill told the Seanad.

She said the woman, who was in her 50s, had been resident in council accommodation for more than 30 years, and the emergency accommodation she moved to would soon close.

“She will also find herself way down the housing list as a result, even though she has never missed a payment of rent on the council house she lived in for more than 30 years,” Ms Cahill added.

She said a verified, points- based system should be introduced to enable those most in need to achieve safe, secure and permanent housing.

Minister of State Anne Phelan said domestic violence was a very serious issue and a blight on society. It was important to note that housing authorities did not provide or oversee services specifically designed for victims, she added. She said responsibility for the development and provision of services to support victims of domestic violence rested with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and was managed through the Child and Family Agency, Tusla.

“Victims of domestic violence who seek emergency accommodation from a housing authority are generally placed in temporary accommodation arranged by the council or operated by a voluntary service provider,” Ms Phelan added.

It is not necessary for such persons to go on the general housing waiting list to avail of short-term emergency housing.”

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