"There is a serious need for a co-ordinated approach to service provision for victims of domestic violence from central government, the HSE, the Gardai and local authorities. We need policy guidelines to take account of eligibility and housing management/tenancy issues. Cosc is currently producing a national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence which should inform improving service provision. However this strategy must be put in action quickly."
Sonas would like a more coherent analysis of the links between domestic violence and homelessness. Cosgrove continued: "Currently domestic violence is not accurately captured as a cause of homelessness. Due to this gap in knowledge, we are not seeing the extent of the problem and are consequently unable to analyse it adequately. For example, Ireland's levels of domestic violence against women are comparable to levels in the UK, but we are not seeing comparable levels of homelessness due to domestic violence. In some local authorities, domestic violence is not even considered as a possible cause to homelessness. Instead it is hidden within other listed causes such as 'anti-social behaviour' and 'family breakdown'. There is a great need for a national study that quantitatively examines the impact of domestic violence on homelessness in Ireland."
For more information, contact: Paula McGovern, policy and communications officer, Sonas Housing Association, Tel: 01 8309088.