Airbnb partners with Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid to offer free accommodation for domestic violence survivors

Airbnb has announced it will partner with Safe Ireland, with the support of Women’s Aid, to assist domestic violence survivors in Ireland at a crucial time when emergency accommodation is particularly needed.


Airbnb will work through its hotel partners to provide temporary accommodation, free of charge, when specialist emergency accommodation (refuge) is not available.

Domestic violence services throughout the country will assess the safety needs of survivors before facilitating bookings into the temporary hotel accommodation.

All those accommodated as part of this unique initiative will continue to be closely linked in and supported by domestic violence specialists.

Safe Ireland is the national policy and services hub for 39 domestic abuse member services.

Safe Ireland will coordinate the initiative with its frontline services and support from the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline. All accommodation costs are sourced and paid for by Airbnb and HotelTonight, part of the Airbnb family.

The partnership comes at a crucial time as Ireland moves towards opening up fully following the COVID-19 lockdown. Capacity in domestic violence specialist accommodation is down approximately 25% because of the need to ensure safe social distancing and to allow for isolation units if needed.

At the same time, domestic violence services are reporting a surge in calls and needs, particularly since the country started to ease restrictions.

Many services are reporting that they are responding to the double trauma of lockdown and months of abuse with many seeing a particular increase in women with multiple children coming forward and looking for crisis accommodation in the community.

The timely partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland and Women’s Aid has received the backing of Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who has been a leading advocate on domestic violence issues in Ireland.

Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said, “We want victims of this horrific crime to know that they are a priority for us and that support is always available. I welcome this valuable new initiative which complements the important work that the Government has undertaken in this area since the start of the pandemic.

We are doing everything we can to protect and support all victims of domestic violence, especially now as Ireland re-opens after Covid-19.”

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, said,  “We welcome the community leadership shown by Airbnb with this partnership. The pandemic has shone a light onto the epidemic of domestic violence that continues in this country.

It has also sparked an incredible outpouring of empathy, understanding and support for survivors trapped with abusers. The security of safe accommodation is essential for women and children to be able to make their first step towards freedom and recovery. This generous contribution by Airbnb means that we will be able to support many more women as they come forward following lockdown.”

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid, said, “This is a really welcome, collaborative initiative bringing together the generosity of Airbnb and dedicated specialist domestic abuse organisations to meet the needs of women and children forced to flee their homes because of violence and abuse.

The Women’s Aid National Helpline responded to 39% more calls during the crisis compared to the same period in 2019. We are delighted to be assisting referrals through our National Freephone Helpline so that this supplementary accommodation is available 24/7 where refuge may not be an option.”

Jean Hoey, Public Policy Lead for Airbnb in Ireland, said:  “In recent months throughout the pandemic, most of us have been confined to the safety of our homes. For those in abusive situations however, that environment can feel more like a prison.

We are proud to support the heroic efforts of Women’s Aid, Safe Ireland and local frontline services by offering temporary safe havens for survivors right across the country.”

Similar initiatives were recently launched by Airbnb in the US.

 

Top 10: systems thinking skills to cultivate in uncertain & tumultuous times

The discipline of systems thinking is more than just a collection of tools and methods – it’s also an underlying philosophy.

Many beginners are attracted to the tools, such as causal loop diagrams and management flight simulators, in hopes that these tools will help them deal with persistent business problems. But systems thinking is also a sensitivity to the circular nature of the world we live in; an awareness of the role of structure in creating the conditions we face; a recognition that there are powerful laws of systems operating that we are unaware of; a realization that there are consequences to our actions that we are oblivious to.

In general, the systems thinking perspective requires curiosity, clarity, compassion, choice, and courage. This approach includes the willingness to see a situation more fully, to recognize that we are interrelated. 

Ask yourself, how can I analyze the situation all of us are facing in order to have a better impact in my society?  Here we compile 10 recommendations by Dr Elizabeth Sawin, Co-Founder of Climate Interactive. 

 

1. Multisolving.

Do not sub-estimate any effort, any donation, claim, or a petition signed is important now more than ever:

How can my one action accomplish multiple goals? Micro: a donation to the local food pantry helps feed my community now and strengths our civic infrastructure for the future. Macro: a green stimulus could fight inequity, climate change & economic shocks.

2. Repurposing.

How can the structures we’ve built contribute to well-being now, under changed circumstances?

While students are at home, the school bus delivers lunch to the school bus stops throughout town. Unemployment system reshaped to also include freelancers. Also: Hotels used quarantine centers. Production lines retooled to make ventilators. Distilleries making hand sanitizer.

We are witnessing now collective efforts that confirm the power of our human creativity.

3. Visioning.

What do I really want to see in my life, my town, the world?

Daring to picture that in vivid detail even while having no idea how to get there. Without these visions, what are you multisolving or repurposing for?

Envisioning a renewed life fitting into a new world is key to guide your efforts. 

4. Orienting by ethics.

The practice of navigating by a moral compass. Ethics are ‘rules for what works’ in complex systems. You are unique and precious and so is every other being. No one is safe until everyone is safe. Equity is not optional.

In this time of uncertainty and systems change, guide your decisions by my human values.

5. Balancing.

Keeping steady. Self-regulation at all scales. Am I tired, hungry, afraid, been online too long? Is my community over-focused on the short-term?

Attending to any parameter (number of laid off workers comes to mind or annual GHG emissions) blasting out of control.

6. Growing.

Tapping the power of reinforcing feedback. Taking ideas and innovations to scale. Stories, possibilities and examples (and also warnings and lessons learned) spreading, by word of mouth, at the speed of zoom.

7. Action-learning.

Up against problems that are also growing exponentially, delay is the enemy. Acting, even if you don’t know everything (or even very much) is preferable to paralysis or ‘wait and see’. But act humbly, knowing that you don’t know nearly everything, and embracing and sharing your mistakes. Design the learning loop (the after action review) into everything.

8. Truth-telling.

You can’t navigate one crisis, let alone multiple intersecting ones with a distorted information stream. Accurate timely data (both numerical and qualitative) are needed more than ever. And pay attention to who tells the stories and what (and who) they include. These times call for deep reflection and honest sharing and allegiance to leaders who do the same, and who thus will not look certain, or ‘strong’ by the standards of the recent past.

9. Cultivating coherence.

the property where across scales and domains the same set of organizing principles are applied. This allows for improvisation and spreading of innovation. And those shared organizing principles come from #3 and #4 vision and ethics.

10. Connecting.

Tapping the power of emergence, where new connections lead to the emergence of new patterns of behavior in systems. A super-power on this list because it amplifies all the others.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

Co-founder co-director @climateinteract

Multisolving for people and climate.