FERMANAGH Women’s Aid was forced to turn away 55 women in need from its refuges last year because of a shortage of beds.
The Women’s Aid Federation has warned that the current political impasse at Stormont is having a “devastating” impact on families. The organisation had to turn away hundreds of women and children in need from emergency accommodation in 2016/17 because there was nowhere for them to stay.
Fermanagh Women’s Aid supported 482 women last year and had 23 referrals over the Christmas and New Year period.
Kerrie Flood, Strategic Development Manager with FWA says the current situation in relation to domestic and sexual violence and the lack of support for the community and voluntary sector is “alarming”.
She told the Herald: “I am at a loss as to what it will take to implement change. In 2016/17, domestic violence made up a quarter of all offences against the person. The statistics do not tell people about the reality.
“There are thousands of women and children across Northern Ireland, including Fermanagh who are afraid with nowhere to turn.
“We have an endemic problem in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in terms of violence against women. Services which seek to support and protect our most vulnerable are operating beyond capacity and we do not have an Executive which could address some of the fundamental problems.”
Ms Flood added: “Our services tell women that we can not always support and protect you even though that is the sole reason we exist. Our Executive sends the message that we will not invest in you.
Ms Flood posed this hard-hitting question to our elected representatives: “How many more women have to die before you do something? What are you going to do and when?”
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