Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
1221. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if there are plans for a domestic violence refuge for counties Cavan and Monaghan in view of the rising number of victims within the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40340/21]
The response to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) is a cross Departmental and multi-agency issue with policy coordinated by the Department of Justice. Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of DSGBV. Capital funding for approved housing bodies, including services that provide refuge accommodation for victims of DSGBV, is provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
I appreciate the Deputy's concern in relation to this issue and I am aware that she has engaged with my Department on this matter on numerous occasions. At present, supports for victims in Counties Cavan and Monaghan are available through the services of Tearmann, which is based in Monaghan. Tearmann also provides outreach services in several locations in both counties. While there is no purpose-built refuge facility in these counties at present, women can avail of emergency domestic violence accommodation in Counties Louth and Meath, where there are currently three refuges supported by Tusla. I am advised by Tusla that it has had some engagement with various local stakeholders about potential future refuge developments, including a recent meeting in May with a local group.
Tusla is finalising an accommodation review which will present recommendations on future configuration of accommodation and services that may be required to holistically meet the needs of victims of DSGBV. The findings of the review will be discussed and actions agreed towards any future investment in this area as part of the Third National Strategy on DSGBV, The findings will be presented to the Monitoring Committee for the National Strategy, which contains stakeholders within the DSGBV sector and across government, with a view to achieving a national consensus on the State's response to identified needs.
The Deputy will also be aware that the Programme for Government committed to an audit on segmentation of DSGBV responsibilities across government departments and agencies. The findings of this audit was recently published by the Department of Justice.
The development of additional refuge places will require strong engagement across Government and with key stakeholders, and will be informed by all the processes outlined above. Accordingly, I am not in a position to advise at this point if a refuge facility will be developed in a specific location of the country.
It is of the utmost importance that the needs of those who experience domestic violence are met in the most appropriate way possible. I am committed to ensuring future service provision is evidence based and designed to meet the needs of individuals who experience domestic violence.