Irish victims of domestic violence to be offered free accommodation during lockdown

Irish victims of domestic violence to be offered free accommodation during lockdown

VICTIMS of domestic abuse are to be provided with free temporary accommodation if specialist emergency facilities aren't available as lockdown in Ireland enters its fourth month.

Airbnb are behind the initiative, partnering with Safe Ireland and Women's Aid in order to help those who might be vulnerable during extended periods in their home.

All accommodation costs are sourced and payed for by Airbnb and HotelTonight and provide domestic abuse victims with somewhere to stay if they have no other option.

Domestic violence figures sharply rose during lockdown, with most of the population confined to their homes for almost all of the day, every day since mid-March.

Travel and social distancing restrictions, coupled with the closing of schools and businesses have put an exceeding amount of pressure and tension on domestic situations, and domestic violence services and helplines are now busier than they have ever been.

Statistics indicate that Women's Aid have received 39% more phone calls in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Women are primarily the ones getting into contact with authorities, although there have also been rises in the amount of men and children contacting helplines over the past few months as well.

Caitriona Gleeson of Safe Ireland says the pandemic has "shone a light" onto the otherwise hidden scale of domestic violence in the country.

"It has also sparked an incredible outpouring of empathy, understanding and support for survivors trapped with abusers," Gleeson said.

"The security of safe accommodation is essential for women and children to be able to make their first step towards freedom and recovery.

"This generous contribution by Airbnb means that we will be able to support many more women as they come forward following lockdown."