Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Victim Support Services

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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410. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide a schedule of the supports and services available to the plaintiff following a court case that involves persons that suffered physical violence, psychological abuse and sexual assault; and if she plans to enhance the supports to persons that are victims of crime following the verdict of a court case. [49156/21]

Photo of Hildegarde NaughtonHildegarde Naughton (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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My Department provides funding to promote and assist the development of specific support services to victims of crime within the criminal justice system. The services that receive funding offer a wide range of support to people who become a victim of crime. Some of these organisations offer support to victims of any type of crime, such as the Crime Victims Helpline or Victim Support at Court, while others provide specialist services for victims of specific types of crime, such as AdViC or Support after Homicide, who work with families who have lost someone close to them as a result of a homicide.

These services provide important information and support such as emotional support, court accompaniment, and accompaniment to Garda interviews, to sexual assault treatment units and referral to other services.

While services that provide support of victims of domestic and sexual violence receive funding under the Victims of Crime fund, it is important to state that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency under the aegis of the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) and are the primary funders of organisations that deliver frontline services. Tusla is currently undertaking a review of its services.

In addition, some services for victims of sexual violence, such as Sexual Assault Treatment Units and counselling services fall under the remit of, and are funded by, the Department of Health.

A list of the organisations in receipt of funding from my Department made available to support victims of crime is set out below.

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, my Department is currently implementing a program of reform in our criminal justice system to better support vulnerable victims through the implementation of Supporting a Victim’s Journey- our detailed and ambitious plan to implement the recommendations of the O'Malley Review. To date, a number of key actions have been delivered including:

- Legislating for the introduction of preliminary trial hearings;

- The nationwide rollout of Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSU);

- The first cohort of staff at new sexual offences unit in the Director of Public Prosecutions office formally took up their roles in April;

- Work to advance the training for all personnel who come into contact with vulnerable victims is underway;

- Funding for NGOs providing court accompaniment and related information and support services has been increased;

- A review of grants for organisations supporting victims has been undertaken to identify gaps in service provision;

- An improved Victims Charter website which provides a comprehensive repository of information for victims has been created;

- The University of Limerick has been commissioned by my Department to develop the framework for the operation and training of intermediaries and they will soon be engaging with stakeholders to develop this.

In addition, my Department has undertaken a review of the supports and funding of civil society organisations providing frontline services in order to identify where gaps may exist and how to bridge them. Specific geographical areas and categories of victims that are not adequately covered by NGO supports have been identified and my Department is engaging with relevant NGO partners to agree revised funding to ensure that we meet the gaps identified. This piece of work will be completed shortly.

This work is in addition to the audit of how domestic, sexual and gender-based violence policy and services are organised which was published by my Department in July. The recommendations of this audit, as well as the Tusla Review and the Supporting a Victim's Journey mapping exercise will play an important role in the development across Government of the Third National Strategy on DSGBV. This new strategy will place a priority on prevention and reduction and will include a National Preventative Strategy.

The new strategy will be published before the end of the year and will be the most ambitious to date.

Victims of crime organisations currently funded by Department of Justice:

Adapt Domestic Abuse Services (Limerick)

AdVIC

Amal Women's Association

AnyMan

Aoibhneas

Ascend

A.S.S.C.

Barnardos

Beacon of Light Counselling Centre

Bray Women's Refuge

CARI

Carlow Women's Aid

Clare Haven Services

Connect Family Resource Centre

Cope Galway Waterside House

Crime Victims Helpline

Cuan Saor Women's Refuge Ltd.

Dignity 4 Patients

Domestic Violence Advocacy Centre (Sligo)

Domestic Violence Response Galway

Donegal Women's Domestic Violence Service

Drogheda Women's Refuge and Children's Refuge Centre

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

Dundalk Counselling Service

Esker House Women's Refuge

Greystones Family Resource Centre

Hope Trust

Immigrant Council of Ireland

Kerry Women’s Refuge and Support Services (Adapt)

Kilkenny Women's Refuge Ltd (Amber)

Laois Domestic Abuse Service

Le Cheile

Letterkenny Women's Centre

Lifeline Inishoven

Living Life Voluntary Counselling Centre

Longford Women's Link

Meath Women's Refuge

Missing in Ireland Support Services

Mna Feasa Domestic Violence Project

Newpark Close Community Development Limited

OASIS HOUSE WOMEN'S Refuge

Offaly Domestic Violence Support Service

One in Four

OSS Cork

Rape Crisis Network

Roscommon Safe Link

Ruhama

SAFE Ireland

Sage Advocacy

Samaritans of Kilkenny and Carlow

Samaritans Newbridge & Kildare

Saoirse Housing Association

Sexual Violence Centre Cork formerly known as Cork Rape Crisis Service.

Support After Crime

Support After Homicide

Teach Tearmainn Housing Association Company Ltd.

Tearmann Housing Association

Victim Support at Court

West Cork Women’s Project

Westmeath Support Service against Domestic Abuse

Wexford Women's Refuge

Women's Aid Dublin

Women's Aid Dundalk

You are not alone

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