Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
Domestic Violence Refuges Provision
487. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he will put in place a short-term emergency rent supplement which would enable men, women and children in need of immediate relocation due domestic violence to access safe housing for a period of three months and or the duration of the Covid-19 national emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6728/20]
It is important to note that the provision of Rent Supplement is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and not for me as Minister for Justice and Equality. I understand that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection is replying to a number of parliamentary questions on that issue today.
I would add only that I am conscious of the added fear and risk of domestic abuse which some people face, in the context of the current Covid-19 restrictions on movement and gatherings.
In recognition of this, my Department has developed an inter-agency plan to address domestic abuse during this period. I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continue to attach the highest priority to domestic abuse incidents. Arrangements have also been made by the Courts Service and Legal Aid Board to ensure that the legal system remains accessible to victims of domestic abuse. In addition to funding already allocated for 2020, my Department has to date provided an additional €285,000 to date to organisations in the sector, to support and extend the existing services they offer during this period of the Covid-19 crisis. We are also leading a public awareness campaign on domestic abuse during the Covid-19 crisis, in partnership with victim support services in the community and voluntary sector. Further information on the organisations involved in this initiative as well as services and supports for victims is available on a new website www.stillhere.ie.