Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
357. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases of domestic violence that have been reported to An Garda Síochána each month in 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11148/20]
358. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the additional resources made available by his Department in tackling the increase in cases of domestic violence by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11152/20]
First it is important to say Tusla has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual or gender based violence and is providing €25.3 million in funding for these services in 2020. Further detail in that regard can be obtained from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Although primary responsibility for funding frontline services, including refuges for victims of domestic abuse, rests with Tusla, I can reassure the Deputy that combatting domestic abuse is also a priority for me and my Department. It is also an important aspect of the National Strategy for Women and Girls and the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.
At an early stage in the Covid-19 pandemic and in recognition of the added risk of domestic abuse which some people face in that context, my Department developed an inter-agency plan to address domestic abuse during this pandemic. An Garda Síochána too confirmed that it continued to attach the highest priority to domestic abuse incidents during the pandemic, including through ‘Operation Faoiseamh’, a proactive initiative designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected throughout the period.
As part of this inter-agency plan and in addition to the funding already allocated for 2020, my Department has to date provided an additional €285,000 to organisations in the sector, to support and extend the existing services they offer during the period of the Covid-19 crisis.
The additional funding provided to date in this way consists of the following:
- Women’s Aid: €63,000 for additional resources to extend the Support and Referral Service and the High Risk Support project;
- Rape Crisis Centre Network Ireland: €50,000 to support the work of local centres and to manage information on advice and guidance for frontline trauma support workers;
- Ruhama: €14,000 for additional support packs for women seeking to exit prostitution;
- Men’s Development Network: up to €39,340 for an extension of the Male Advice line and extra telephone support for the Men Ending Domestic Violence programme;
- Safe Ireland: €36,000 for additional personnel capacity and communicating with their service users;
- Move Ireland: €33,000 for additional helpline and counselling support for perpetrators;
- Rape Crisis Centre Forum: €50,000 for local awareness-raising campaigns and for development of a package of revised service processes, standards and procedures, including adaptations to new ways of working arising from pandemic.
Other actions under the plan aimed at ensuring that domestic abuse and sexual violence continue to receive the highest priority from the civil and criminal justice system. This includes priority by the Legal Aid Board and Courts Service for domestic abuse cases, and availability of a Legal Aid Board helpline to ensure that persons experiencing domestic violence issues get prompt legal advice and legal representation in court where needed.
Tusla has also put a range of practical supports in place including funding, identification of additional accommodation capacity, and provision of additional ICT resources.
Deputies will also have noted that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has recently announced her decision to make rent supplement available on a short-term basis to victims of domestic abuse, referred via Tusla-funded domestic abuse service providers. Minister Doherty has indicated that these arrangements will be reviewed after six months of operation.
Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that my Department is also leading a public awareness campaign on domestic abuse during the Covid-19 crisis, in partnership with frontline 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 the website