Open empty hotel rooms for domestic violence victims in pandemic, says Carlow councillor

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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news@carlowlive.ie

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People Before Profit's Cllr Adrienne Wallace has called for extra support for domestic violence victims during the pandemic.

She said the surge in domestic violence reports shows we need to ensure there are adequate supports on the ground to keep women and children safe.

Cllr Wallace said: "There has been a 30% rise in domestic violence reports [in some areas] to Gardaí but in reality, the true spike in domestic attacks is likely much higher because many victims are now in lockdown at home in such close proximity with their abusers that they have lost the opportunity to reach out for help.

"We need to ensure the supports are here on the ground for those fleeing domestic violence.

"I am calling for empty hotel rooms in the area to be opened up for emergency use to any victim of violence in the home. This is a crisis for many and we must be able to respond appropriately."

She added: "Carlow has suffered from a historic neglect of support for victims of domestic violence. Nine counties have no refuge at all and Carlow is shamefully still one of them.

"Nationally there are just 19 refuges – often full to capacity – and 38 domestic violence services in Ireland. These figures are far below European recommendations.

"Following a sustained and on-going campaign for a women’s refuge in Carlow we now have two safe accommodation units but if we are to meet the record rise in reports we need to move to provide emergency support.

"I have asked Carlow County Council to initiate talks with local hoteliers and seek use of their vacant rooms. This would be a signal to the many suffering that we are working hard to provide solutions and supports."