Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
412. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the additional ring-fenced funding to be provided by his Department to domestic violence services in budget 2021 in order that services can respond adequately to the shadow pandemic of domestic violence through Covid-19 and beyond; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36343/20]
A Better World, the Government's policy for international development, establishes gender equality as a policy priority, specifically identifying response to, and prevention of, gender-based violence (GBV) as a key focus.
Ireland is consistently among those OECD countries with the highest proportion of official development assistance (ODA) invested yearly in gender equality measures. In 2019, approximately 76%, that is €295 million, of Ireland’s bilateral allocable aid contributed to gender equality. Of this, over €15 million was invested in actions to mitigate or prevent gender-based violence, or in support of those who have suffered from GBV.
One of the many impacts COVID-19 pandemic has been an increased incidence of GBV worldwide, including in places where Irish Aid is working. Irish Embassies in partner countries have used Irish Aid funding to ensure continuity of essential services to victims of domestic violence. For example, in Zambia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Irish Aid is supporting partners to expand emergency shelter services and one-stop centres, and to establish rapid referral systems. Irish Aid’s work at community level also focuses on prevention, and safe spaces for adolescent girls who are out of school.
Ireland also provides annual funding to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, supporting efforts to address GBV at grassroots level in over 80 countries. My officials have been working closely with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to ensure that GBV is adequately addressed within the UN’s Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan.
Recognising that GBV is often a feature of emergencies, we have worked to reflect this in Irish Aid’s response to humanitarian crises. This includes ongoing work with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to deliver life-saving services for survivors of GBV internally displaced in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Cameroon.