Demand for Kildare’s only refuge centre for women and children fleeing domestic violence is on the increase.
This year 132 women and 225 children who sought refuge at the Kildare town based accommodation centre Teach Tearmainn had to be turned away.
The centre was unable to accommodate demand despite providing refuge and aftercare services to 442 women throughout 2017.
The centre was either full at the time or un-staffed as staff do not work 24/ 7.
According to centre manager Lorraine Rowan, this year has seen the biggest uptake of services.
“If a woman rings and we don’t have accommodation we try and find alternative accommodation for her,” Lorraine said.
“The nearest refuge to here is either Dublin or Kilkenny which will not always suit and the person may opt to stay in the family home.
“If that is the case we will always try to bring her back in to offer support. It is obviously very difficult to turn people away.”
Lorraine who has taken over the role of manager from former manager Jacinta Carey said they need more funding to run the centre effectively.
“We don’t have funding for admin staff at the moment which takes from the support staff,” she said.
“Additional funding for two admin staff was refused recently (from Tusla). We also have a gap in our services as we don’t have a dedicated children’s service unlike other refuges.
“We really need that in place, but we don’t have the funding for that.”
According to Lorraine a dedicated support staff for children would be in line with best practice, however it is costly.
“To have a specialised team in place for children would require more funds.
“Ideally what we would like to do is to be able to provide all of the supports for the children at the same time as the mums.”
In the run up to Christmas demand for the services are likely to increase.
“The premises is new and it is state-of-the-art, and all four apartments are operational for Christmas,” she added, “Domestic violence is on the increase in Kildare. We are busier this year than we have been in the past four or five years.”