The €10 cut to child benefit in Budget 2013 will have a disproportionate impact on low-income families, COPE Galway has said.
The charity this week released figures which showed that their homelessness and domestic violence services provided accommodation to 374 children along with one or more parent in the first 11 months of 2012.
Between January and November of this year, 108 women with 175 children were supported through COPE Galway’s Waterside House domestic violence service, 74 families with 167 children were supported by Teach Corrib Homeless Day Centre and 22 women with 32 children were accommodated in Osterley Lodge Hostel for homeless women.
These figures indicate a dramatic increase in the number of families with children using COPE Galway’s services. Osterley Lodge, designed mainly to accommodate single women, had a 100 per cent increase in the number of women with children using the service in 2012.
So far this year, one in four of the individuals accommodated in Osterley Lodge were children, accompanied by a parent. Teach Corrib homeless day centre worked with 74 families this year, a 30 per cent increase on the 2011 numbers.
During the same period, Waterside House refuge for women and children had to refer 199 women with 300 children experiencing domestic violence to other services around the country as they were unable to accommodate them on the day they presented due to lack of space in the refuge.
“These figures reflect what is happening to families and children in Galway today. More and more families are in crisis and more and more children are being directly affected,” said Martin O’Connor, Director of Services for COPE Galway.
“In our Pre Budget Submission, COPE Galway pleaded with the Government for no further cuts to child benefit. The €10 cut per child per month will have a disproportionate impact on the families that we support. We have no doubt that the budget will drive more and more families into crisis and into seeking support from our services,” he added.