Supporting Local News


Pandemic saw major rise in domestic abuse

The number of women and children who sought support for domestic abuse with Cope Galway was up by 15 per cent in the second year of pandemic restrictions.

The charity had one of its busiest years in its nearly half century of existence, with its 2021 annual report showing those who had to seek help with a roof over their heads jumped by 14 per cent.

The organisation supported 2,885 people in the second year of restrictions across its homeless, domestic abuse and senior support services. That marked a ten per cent increase overall on the year before.

The charity has been moving from a reactive service to one that focuses on prevention and early engagement as a core service.

The greatest share of its resources went to help 1,316 families and individuals who were homeless or at risk of losing their home.

Of these, 994 were adults, 322 were children, 119 were families and 814 were single people, whose numbers were up by over a third on 2020.

By mid-2021 there was a growing stream of newly homeless families entering emergency accommodation due mainly to the lifting of the moratorium on evictions, explained Sinead Carey, head of the homeless service.

“Homelessness isn’t limited to people we see sleeping on the street, in bus shelters, doorways and parks. Here in Galway, where a lack of affordable housing has pushed people into substandard accommodation, we regularly meet people who are living in cars and garages or survive by couch surfing and living in extremely overcrowded conditions,” she explained.

The organisation extended its Street Outreach Service for rough sleepers from one to four mornings a week to deal with the numbers of regular street sleepers, who were mainly migrants and ineligible for services such as emergency accommodation.

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