Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality

Women's Shelters and Domestic Abuse Refuges: Discussion

Photo of Martin KennyMartin Kenny (Sligo-Leitrim, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I thank all the witnesses for their contributions so far. This is one of the issues that comes up all the time. I live in County Leitrim. My constituency, Sligo–Leitrim, includes County Sligo, County Leitrim, north Roscommon and south Donegal. I am very conscious of that red block on the map because I am right in the middle of it. Organisations such as DVAS in Sligo do tremendous work and do their very best. They have their own little network of people they can call on in an emergency. They have a couple of B&Bs and places where people can be assisted. I am sure that is the same throughout the country.

I would like the witnesses' reflections on the numbers because many of the people I have come across in the past 20 years who have experienced domestic violence have not gone to DVAS but to their family. They kept the problem in-house. They stayed with a sister or ran to their brother or brother-in-law. The domestic violence problem is often covered up, meaning we do not see the full impact.

I would like a little more information on the need for a refuge or safe place to which people can go and that they know will be there for them. What costs are involved in establishing a refuge of that nature based on the experience of counties that have one? I imagine such a refuge is good value for money. It is often crude to say it but, when it comes to government, we have to talk about the cost, where we are going to get the money and how we are going to use it.


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