Kildare’s only shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence had to turn away 60 women and 90 children in the first 100 days since it opened due to lack of funding.
A renewed call for an additional HSE funding of €80,000 a year to open and run the remaining two idle units out of the shelter’s four appartments has been made by the centre manager.
“In the scheme of things, it’s a tiny amount really to provide security and safety to women at risk of violence and abuse,” said Teach Teramainn Manager Jacinta Carey.
“With this we could finally hire the two additional staff needed to provide the necessary professional 24 hour care and support needed to open up our two idle units.
“Then, we could house four women with up to 16 children at any time. This extra funding would also provide specialized services for children who are the too-often forgotten victims of domestic violence, and who need very special care to help them deal with what they have witnessed and experienced.”
In the shelter’s first 100 days since it was opened last May emergency refuge and specialist support was provided to to nine women and their 19 children.
“But, in those same 100 days, we also had to turn away 60 women and 90 children – these were women who came to us, at all hours, in good faith and in hope, looking for safety from trauma and abuse,” she added.
“On our very first day alone, we had five requests for emergency accommodation but three women and their children had to be turned away.”
Funding has been agreed by the HSE at €234,000 per year, but it falls short of total requirements to run all four appartments adequately.
As a result, only two apartments opened despite the obvious demand for the four apartments locally.
“Turning a woman away in the knowledge that two apartments remain empty is heart-breaking,” she aded.
“Every time you have to do it, you feel like you are taking away her chance for safety. You are left wondering if you are sending her back to the abuse.
You wonder will she reach out for help again.”
At the time of going to press neither the HSE or the Child and Family Agency was available for comment on the issue to the Leinster Leader.