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04 Dec 2021

Domestic violence victims in Offaly forced to take refuge in other counties

Domestic violence victims in Offaly forced to take refuge in other counties

Domestic violence victims in Offaly forced to take refuge in other counties

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has described the fact that there is not a single domestic violence refuge in Offaly as a gross betrayal of women and their families that must be urgently addressed.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after she asked the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman to address concerns around the decade’s long absence of any such accommodation service despite demonstrable and documented levels of need.

“While support for victims of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (DSGBV) is available through the excellent services of Offaly Domestic Violence Support Services based in Tullamore, the fact remains that the county does not and has not had a dedicated refuge providing accommodation for at least 25 years," Deputy Nolan claimed.

"We cannot allow that situation to continue. We need a purpose-built refuge facility in County Offaly. At present women and children who need such a service can only avail of emergency domestic violence accommodation in Counties Kildare and Westmeath. But those services are under pressure to cater for the women in their own areas.

"I am aware that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has conducted a ‘Review of the Provision of Accommodation for Victims of Domestic Violence’ as well as the distribution of safe emergency accommodation and evidence of demand for services and unmet need.

"However, Minister O’Gorman has informed me that he is not yet in a position to confirm if a refuge for victims of DSGBV will be established in County Offaly.

"That is also totally unacceptable."

The Independent TD continued: "The people who are engaged in this area in Offaly, and who have spoken to me, deserve to have sight of a clear commitment to address the major gap in emergency accommodation within the county.

"I will continue to follow this up with the Minister and push for the provision of an emergency refuge for any women who may need it,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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