Press release form Councillor Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Uncertainty over Children’s Allowance Payment puts some women at greater risk of domestic violence”…. abused women face spectre of turning to loan sharks ….”

Fine Gael Councillor, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has warned that cutting the Children’s Allowance will lead to the further isolation of women who are being abused at home.

Speaking about the launch by Women’s Aid of its ’16 Days of Action – Opposing Violence against Women’,  on 25th November 2009, Councillor Mitchell O’Connor said:

“Violence against women is frighteningly prevalent in Irish society. Women are subjected to unimaginable terrors in their own homes and for that reason I want to publicly state my support for the campaign by Women’s Aid, which runs from 25th November, and is designed to raise public awareness about the violence perpetrated against many women”.

“It is vital that we work to address domestic violence in society, so that ultimately we protect women. The current economic downturn is affecting every facet of Irish life and has resulted in increased incidence of domestic violence and the growing problem of financial abuse.

Financial constraints are often used opportunistically by abusive men as a way of enhancing their control over their partners. Financial abuse, although often overlooked, is a highly effective method of maintaining control; without money, women have little options. As Women’s Aid puts its, financial abuse is designed to lave women with ‘no place to go, no means to get there and no way to provide for one’s own or one’s children’s basic needs’.”

“For many women, the Children’s Allowance is their own source of income. Reducing or removing this altogether will serve only to further isolate abused women and leave them more vulnerable to financial abuse.This is not a class issue. Women are abused irrespective of class so any cuts to the Children’s Allowance will impact.”

 

“I am personally aware of women who are forced to go to loan sharks because their husbands, often well off individuals, make sure they have no access to money. Such women are essentially prisoners in their own homes.”

“Women generally face impoverishment when they leave their partner. Cutting the Children’s Allowance will only create a further barrier. I don’t think this has been properly thought through”.

“I am not suggesting that the Children’s Allowance is a panacea for the complex problems that result in violence against women but I am scared that women will be put at further risk because of this”.

 

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