Victims of domestic violence will now be able to access Rent Supplement without a means test
Under these changes, victims of domestic violence can get immediate access to Rent Supplement for a three month period to ensure that they are not prevented from leaving their home because of financial concerns. The usual Rent Supplement means test will not apply for this three month period.
The process will work based on referrals from Tusla-funded services; referrals from An Garda Síochána and the HSE will also be possible.
The scheme is a means-tested welfare subsidy for those living in private rented accommodation, who cannot afford to pay their rent because of a substantial change in their circumstances.
Announced on Sunday, the usual Rent Supplement means test will not apply during the three-month period after domestic violence victims leave their homes.
After that, a further three-month extension may be provided, subject to the usual Rent Supplement means assessment.
If a tenant has a long-term housing need after six months, they can then apply to their local housing authority for social housing supports and, if eligible, will be able to access Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
We welcome @ReginaDo’s swift and positive response to our call for the introduction of Domestic Violence Emergency Rent Supplement.
This support will enable women and children fleeing violent partners to be sheltered quickly and safely. https://t.co/N8AP3sk6BJ
— SAFE Ireland (@SAFEIreland) June 14, 2020
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said the current restriction on movement and the increased confinement of many people to their homes has brought the "issue of domestic abuse into stark relief”.
Related: Domestic violence calls have increased by 25% since lockdown
“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.
The announcement follows a report from An Garda Síochána which revealed there was a 25 per cent increase in calls for assistance in relation to domestic violence issues in the past year.
Co-chief executive of domestic violence charity Safe Ireland Mary McDermott said the new supports will particularly 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 addresses, in particular, the financial abuse which pervades many abusive relationships.”
The Women’s Aid 24-hour national freephone helpline is available on 1800 341 900.
If you are in immediate danger contact the Gardaí or call 999.
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