NAMA should make housing available for victims of domestic abuse

Speaking following the launch of a domestic violence awareness campaign by Sonas Housing and Meath Women’s Refuge to highlight the impact of verbal abuse, Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, called on NAMA to make housing available to victims of domestic abuse to enable them to leave their abuser.

“On the eve of Valentine’s Day, when the focus is very much on love and functioning relationships, it is fitting that a campaign to highlight the effects of verbal abuse is launched. Domestic violence comes in many guises and it is essential that we lift the lid on this issue and let women, and men, in abusive relationships know that they are not alone in their attempts to face down abuse.

“For many who find themselves in this situation, building up the courage to leave is frequently off-set by the reality of having no place else to go. At present in Dun Laoghaire, if you are in social housing and a domestically abusive relationship which you are forced to leave, the victim is the one forced to seek alternative shelter.

“Aside from its commercial remit, NAMA has a social objective that aims to contribute to a better society and sustainable communities. With this in mind, I believe the Agency should ear-mark a number of housing units for use by victims of domestic violence who wish to break away from their situation to begin an independent life free from abuse.

“Last December NAMA agreed that 2,000 housing units would be made available in 2012 to people on social housing lists through leasing agreements with Local Authorities and volunteer housing associations. NAMA has also committed to giving first option to public bodies on the purchase of property which may be suitable for their purposes. I believe that provision should be made to address the needs of those in exploitative relationships to enable them to get away from their abuser and begin a more positive life in a safe and harm free environment.

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