The women’s refuge Konukot has had a record number of women seeking shelter this year. Women who take refuge in Konukot have become younger and more are hooked on injecting narcotics than before.
From Grafarhlot, Reykjavík. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review
Konukot Women’s Refuge is run by the Reykjavík Unit of the Icelandic Red Cross. Sixty-six women from the age of 19 – 64 have sought shelter in the refuge so far this year which is more than ever. The number of women seeking shelter this year has already exceeded the former record year of 2008.
Konukot was first opened in 2004. Twenty-three of the women who came there this year are there for the first time.
Kristín Helga Halldórsdóttir, who is in charge of Konukot for the Red Cross, said to Morgunbladid that the group was changing. “We notice that there are more narcotic users among the guests and believe that the reasons for this are either that women now know of the existence of the refuge or simply that the abuse of narcotics which are injected is generally increasing,” said Halldórsdóttir.
In July alone 25 women sought shelter in the refuge and one night 12 women stayed the night.
The Reykjavík Red Cross also runs a healthcare unit on wheels which attends to individuals who lead dangerous or illegal lifestyles such as drug abuse. The unit distributes clean syringes and needles for abusers of narcotics and provides healthcare for individuals who do not seek normal healthcare. This unit is stationed outside the women’s refuge once a week. Since the start of the operation 11 months ago, more men than women have used the service. Fifty-eight percent of the visits were made by drug abusers.