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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is no international legal framework for cooperative global and national action to catch and punish serious wildlife criminals, nor is there an agreed definition of wildlife crime.
Reports that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreakoriginated from illegally sourced wildlife, including pangolin, has given a new sense of urgency to ending wildlife crime. Wildlife crime is not new, yet, remarkably, there is no global legal agreement addressing it. This is despite the devastating impact it has on wildlife, local communities, national economies, security, public health and entire ecosystems, and its links to HIV Aids, Ebola, SARS, MERS and now COVID -19.
We are not talking about subsistence poaching, which is a separate and distinct issue to be resolved locally, but rather, large-scale criminal activity organized transnationally and fueled by corruption. A recent World Bank report estimates the value of illegally traded species at US$200 billion, when all wildlife, including fish and timber not listed under CITES are included.
Saving wildlife, and, as we now see, ourselves, means stopping an illegal commerce that shifts thousands of tonnes of contraband, worth billions of dollars and leaves death, destruction, and instability in its wake. Ending wildlife crime requires a new level of international cooperation that assures criminals feel the long arm of the law. The time for bold action is now.
No longer a tenable solution
Currently and by default, we have turned to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a trade-related conservation convention from the 1970’s, to serve as the de facto legal instrument for combating serious wildlife crimes. The problem is that CITES wasn’t designed to deal with wildlife crime. It was meant to regulate wildlife trade to avoid over-exploitation of threatened species.
While a critically important trade convention, it was never designed to fight crime. CITES has its limitations. It only applies to species listed in its appendices – that is 36,000 of the world’s eight million species – and to the cross-border movement of specimens. It doesn’t require illegal trade to be criminalized, nor does it apply to poaching. However, in the absence of any alternative, over the past decade, CITES has been leveraged to crank up the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
Even with its limitations, CITES has had some success in this regard. It led the creation of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) in 2010[i], which was welcomed by CITES Parties in 2013. In parallel to the Consortium, the UN General Assembly passed a first-ever Resolution on Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade in 2015, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) released the first-ever UN World Wildlife Crime Report in 2016. Over the years, CITES has seen the deeper engagement of police and customs agents, and action by key industry sectors, including finance, transport, and tourism.
Yet, a serious underlying problem remains, one for which we are now paying a heavy price. There is no international legal framework for cooperative global and national action to catch and punish serious wildlife criminals, nor is there an agreed definition of wildlife crime. This inhibits global enforcement efforts and jeopardizes the lives of park rangers, creates insecurity and undermines conservation schemes. It robs local communities of their resources and it elevates the risk of future disease outbreaks like COVID-19.
Transnational wildlife crimes deserve the attention of the criminal justice system and deployment of their resources.
Given the scale and seriousness of wildlife crime and its grave implications for countries, their ecosystems and species, and for humanity overall, it can and must be dealt with by police, prosecutors and the judiciary – not by individuals such as conservationists or park rangers acting alone. We need an unequivocal political message, supported by the right legal framework, that organized, transnational wildlife crimes deserve the attention of the criminal justice system and deployment of their resources.
The time has come for a new global agreement on wildlife crime.
This agreement can be housed under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC), as has been done for other serious crimes such as human trafficking. Such an agreement should oblige countries to prohibit the import of any wildlife, supported by criminal sanctions, unless the importer can prove it was legally obtained.
This idea was put forward at the recent ‘End Wildlife Crime’ event at the House of Lords, which promoted a new agreement on wildlife crime that criminalizes the importation, distribution and consumption of illegally sourced wildlife. What is proposed is not unlike the approach taken in some countries, such as in the US under the Lacey Act, and what some countries have in place for certain timber imports.
Doing things differently requires us to take a fresh look at historic approaches to conservation and question their ongoing efficacy in a changing world. Making bold but necessary changes will prove difficult and stir up resistance. But the status quo won’t do; nor will incremental changes. It’s abundantly clear that we need to scale up the fight against the transnational, organized criminals who are stripping countries bare of their precious wildlife and creating havoc locally and globally. To stop them we need to get police and prosecutors hot on their trail.
Global responses to biodiversity loss must move with the times and if we can blend taking a hard line against transnational organized criminals, while opening up new opportunities for local communities in and around biodiverse-rich areas, then we will not only end wildlife crime but see wildlife, ecosystems and local communities thrive.
Special Envoy, African Parks (Secretary-General of CITES 2010-2018)
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