Domestic abuse refuge struggling to cope with demand

domestic violence
SOMEWHERE in Enniskillen, there is a home (’emergency accommodation’) operated by Fermanagh Women’s Aid that currently accommodates one woman, a victim of domestic violence, and her seven children.
She is among the 25 women supported supported last year, along with nine children.
Between April last year and March this year, it was unable to accommodate 24 abused women (including one who was heavily pregnant), and, likewise, 19 children.
The refuge is simply not big enough to cope. 
But, while it may not have room in its three-unit refuge in Enniskillen and an additional ‘safe’ house for women and children who must leave home for their own safety, every effort is made to secure accommodation. Last year, four abused woman and five children from an abusive environment were accommodated in the safe house. The additional safe house has been occupied since Fermanagh Women’s Aid obtained it in 2014.
Those unable to be accommodated in the refuge were found safe and supported housing elsewhere, in other Women’s Aid Refuges, or remaining with friends and families; however, for some women they had no choice but remain in the violent situation because they could not be accommodated elsewhere.
Not surprisingly, a business plan has been submitted to the NI Housing Executive towards obtaining a new refuge. How it will be paid for remains to be tackled.
Fermanagh Women’s Aid is not wealthy. It receives some State funding (about 30 per cent of its spend) and the rest it depends on securing from its main non-state funders, the likes of Children In Need and the Big Lottery and others.
So, what happens in the refuge?
A FWA spokesman explained that, while there, women receive emotional and practical support, beginning with an immediate risk assessment and safety plan
“In this safe environment, information is provided on obtaining court orders, benefits, financial advice and solicitor’s advice”, 
“The service is designed to enable women and their families to return as quickly as possible to the community and into their own homes (in the absence of the abuser) by providing assistance in securing a property as well as furnishing and fitting the property.”
She added that the women in the refuge will continue to receive support during this transitional period while the charity’s Children Services team provide support to their children.

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