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Domestic abuse victims spared Rent Supplement means test

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Minister Regina Doherty

Minister Regina Doherty

Minister Regina Doherty

Victims of domestic violence will be able to access Rent Supplement without a means test.

Changes just announced by the Department of Social Protection mean victims can get immediate access to Rent Supplement for a three-month period to ensure they are not prevented from leaving their home because of concerns about money.

The department said the usual Rent Supplement means test will not apply for this period.

After that, a further three-month extension may be provided, subject to the usual means assessment.

After six months, if the tenant has a long-term housing need, they can apply to their local housing authority for social housing supports and, if eligible, will be able to access housing assistance payment.

Garda statistics show that calls for help relating to domestic violence have increased by 25pc this year.

Crackdown

They also show that more than 100 people were charged in the last two weeks of May as part of a new crackdown on violence in the home.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said restriction on movement and the increased confinement of many people to their homes "has brought the issue of domestic abuse into stark relief".

"As a long-time advocate on behalf of those who suffer from such abuse, I am determined that no one should suffer additional trauma during the current health emergency," she said.

Mary McDermott, the co-chief executive of domestic violence charity Safe Ireland, said the new supports will help women experiencing financial abuse.

"The new measures will enable women and children fleeing violent partners to be sheltered quickly and safely regardless of their circumstances, and directly address the financial abuse which pervades many abusive relationships," she said.