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 Lynn RuaneLynn Ruane (Independent) | Oireachtas source

Ms McDermott has provided enough information. Given the time constraints, I will move on. The question has been well answered. What Ms McDermott said earlier about refuge not being the answer to domestic violence is going around in my head. I relied heavily on Saoirse in getting people refuge throughout Covid. What came up a lot in that - and as referred to by Deputy Carroll MacNeill earlier - was the number of women who would stay in the home if they could get the partner to leave. Are there any clear pathways or strategies for supporting women at that point in the context of the outreach piece? Safe Ireland referred to the safe at home sanctuary scheme.

Perhaps it is something that can be developed as part of that. Even if women temporarily leave the home and want to get back into the home, how do we get him out? There does not seem to be any real way here. It would have cost one of the women I was supporting hefty legal fees to challenge this situation, something she would not have access to as she became a lone parent, was out of work and was on social work welfare. Will whoever feels best in answering this tell me how we begin to solve this so that we take the pressure off refuges and manage to keep women and their families within the home, even if they do leave it temporarily but then work towards getting back to it? Do we need to fund free legal representation to be able to support women to return to the home?


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