Recognised need for domestic violence services in the safety chain for women and children

Cuan Alainn at Safe Ireland confElaine Burnett, Manager from Respond Cuan Alainn Women and Children Refuge attended a ‘Safe Ireland’ Seminar on 19th May  alongside advisors and a number of staff from various refuge- providers located nationally.

The seminar’s purpose included :

 “Promoting social and emotional well-being for women and children who have experienced domestic violence and the role of domestic violence services in the safety chain”

Photographed at the event were Winnie Grehan D12 Service,  Elaine Burnett Cuan Alainn, Deirdre Lawlor D12 Service, Lynn Rosenthall First White House advisor on violence against women, Professor Chris Sullivan Michigan State University and Anne Clarke Offaly Domestic Violence Service.

A recent EU Survey on violence against women highlights low levels of disclosure by women in Ireland and high levels of reported violence against women.

SAFE Ireland in association with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Rape Crisis Network Ireland and the National Women’s Council of Ireland hosted a seminar on violence against women to communicate the results of the Europe’s largest ever survey on Violence Against Women. The survey on violence against women reveals that 26% of Irish women – or 394,325 women in 2012 – have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner since the age of 15.   The survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU FRA) reveals that violence against women is pervasive and extensive across the 28 EU states, including Ireland.
To access the survey main results please click here.

Despite the recognised need for Refuge Services for women and children Cuan Alainn is under threat of closure due to lack of funding

In a recent statement Pat Rabbitte TD (13th May) urges the Minister to take action to prevent the closure of Cuan Álainn Womens’ Refuge stating:

“Cuan Álainn is a women and children refuge in Tallaght founded in 2012 by the housing association, RESPOND, and has provided a safe harbour for some 64 women and 85 children since then. It is a refuge with a difference in so much as it is a second-stage facility designed to provide temporary accommodation and advice to women referred by emergency refuges or state agencies.

Without such a facility women and children have no choice but to return to abusive partners or be allocated to accommodation for the homeless. Expert opinion suggests that the service is necessary and value for money.

Respond undertook in 2012 to fund this service for 3 years and can no longer do so. The annual cost is somewhere between €320,000 and €350,000. Respond are now confronted by what they say is an unavoidable decision to close Cuan Álainn. State agencies, including Tusla, accept that Respond has identified a definite need to care for women (and children) who must move on from emergency refuges. The typical stay may be from six to nine months while alternative arrangements are made to procure housing for the women and children concerned.

I accept that the budgetary situation remains difficult and that in particular the Tusla budget is under pressure. However, it would be shameful if Cuan Álainn is allowed close because it serves a huge catchment area where the need is great. I thank the Minister for taking this issue and I would ask him to examine whether steps can be taken to protect this service into the future. By way of being helpful I would respectfully suggest that he might, in the short term, engage with his colleague, the Environment Minister, Alan Kelly TD, to examine whether it is within the competence of both Departments to save this service from closure. If it does close it is axiomatic that the cost to the State to provide alternatives will be more costly”.