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Violent homes Domestic violence victims 'need rent help', says Social Protection Minister

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said while special arrangements to allow domestic abuse victims to access rent supplement "more easily" have been extended, they should be made permanent

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Minister Heather Humphreys

Minister Heather Humphreys

Minister Heather Humphreys

Rent supports for domestic violence victims should be made permanent, according to Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys.

Writing in today's Irish Independent, the Cavan-Monaghan TD, who is acting Justice Minister while Helen McEntee is on leave, said while special arrangements to allow domestic abuse victims to access rent supplement "more easily" have been extended, they should be made permanent.

It comes as frontline staff and legal professionals will be trained by specialists to help engage sensitively with victims and witnesses of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV).

In a letter to Cabinet colleagues, Ms Humphreys and Junior Minister Hildegarde Naughton said that intermediaries and preliminary trial hearings will be introduced as part of these measures.

Awareness for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence will also be raised in primary and secondary schools.

Refuge shelters will receive "adequate" funding, as will step-down accommodation.

A plan will also be put in place for a "future refuge space" which addresses the complex needs of service users, including geographical spread and the numbers of clients.

The two ministers also vowed that victims of DSGBV will "have access to information and are kept informed of the progress of their investigation".

Writing to ministers, they asked for a "whole-of-government" response to the "epidemic" of DSGBV and asked colleagues to respond with how agencies within their departments can "step up".

"The reforms which we will set out must mean that victims of sexual, domestic and gender-based abuse will be fully supported by the criminal justice system, and their abusers punished," the letter to Cabinet reads.

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