Thursday, 13 December 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh – Priority Questions
Domestic Violence Refuges Data
17. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of women and children in domestic violence refuges and step-down accommodation in 2018; the number of places in domestic violence refuges; if these refuges are capable of accommodating the level of need; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52297/18]
My question is to ask the Minister the number of women and children in domestic refuges and step-down accommodation this year, the number of places in such refuges, and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Tusla has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual or gender based violence. It has advised me that its funded services provide data relating to use of services on a retrospective basis. Data relating to the numbers of women and children accommodated during 2018 in specialist emergency domestic violence accommodation will be available in the second quarter of 2019.
Tusla currently provides funding, co-ordination and support to 43 organisations nationally for a range of support services to victims of domestic violence. Some 21 of these organisations provide specialist emergency accommodation for victims, with a total of 155 family units of emergency accommodation - 145 in emergency refuges and ten in safe homes. As Tusla does not directly fund the provision of step-down accommodation, it does not gather data on this area of service provision.
I am advised by Tusla that anecdotal evidence from service providers indicates that the current homelessness crisis is affecting the length of stay of families in refuges. Tusla is concerned about this situation, as am I. In cases where emergency refuges cannot accommodate families, it makes every effort to source safe and suitable alternatives. That may include sourcing accommodation that would typically be used by a homelessness service.
Tusla recognises that there are challenges to be addressed in ensuring that there is an appropriate configuration of spaces available to all women and children who require emergency refuge accommodation, and that those with the greatest need for safe accommodation, are prioritised appropriately.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have secured additional funding of €1.5 million for domestic, sexual and gender based violence services in 2019, bringing the total funding for these services to €25.3 million next year.
It is important that the needs of victims of domestic violence are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility and outcome of services. I strongly support the work of Tusla and I am committed to supporting the agency in meeting the needs of individuals who experience domestic violence.