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Thursday, 21st May 2020

O’Dowd welcomes supports for domestic violence victims

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Deputy Fergus O'Dowd.

Local Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd has called on the Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, to revisit her decision on a proposal by Safe Ireland to fund an emergency rent supplement scheme to assist women and children in need of immediate relocation as a result of domestic violence for the duration of Covid-19 national emergency.

O’Dowd said “I have been contacted by a number of local organisations on the front line dealing directly with domestic violence who have backed the Safe Ireland proposal. We all have very serious concerns on the number of domestic violence incidents taking place during this Covid emergency.

“The rent supplement structure is already available through the Department of Social Protection, as such this would be a relatively straight forward process to introduce, it is also acknowledged that this emergency proposal will not provide the required long term solutions to those most affected by domestic violence.

O’Dowd said “There is a shortage in emergency accommodation which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, this proposal will give independence and choice to woman and children at what is a very difficult stage in their lives.”

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In her response to the Deputy, the Minister stated that both her own Department of Social Protection, Department of Justice and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs are working to make sure that any domestic violence referrals that are received are supported immediately.

The Minister also stated the referral application has also been shortened from 28 pages to 4 pages in order to fast track any referral and reduce the cumbersome bureaucracy that had previously delayed the referral pathway.

O’Dowd added “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff and volunteers working in domestic violence organizations who are working throughout this pandemic and providing vital frontlines service.”

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