Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Domestic Violence

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Laois-Offaly, Independent)
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270. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will address concerns that there is no emergency accommodation available in County Offaly for victims of domestic violence; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this situation has been ongoing for the past 25 years; the steps he is taking to rectify this service deficit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56621/21]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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The response to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) is a cross Departmental and multi-agency issue. Overall policy is coordinated by the Department of Justice. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of DSGBV under the Child and Family Agency Act 2013. 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 am informed by Tusla that support for victims of DSGBV in County Offaly is available through the services of Offaly Domestic Violence Support Services (ODVSS), which is based in Tullamore and funded by Tusla. ODVSS has received an allocation of approximately €247,000 in 2021 to support their important work. This amount is inclusive of additional funding to address service pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed for this service to operate at weekends. In relation to a dedicated refuge, there is no purpose built refuge facility in County Offaly at present, but women can avail of emergency domestic violence accommodation in Counties Kildare and Westmeath, where there are two refuges supported by Tusla. I am aware, along with Tusla, of the gaps in emergency accommodation provision across the Midlands area, including County Offaly.

Tusla’s ‘Review of the Provision of Accommodation for Victims of Domestic Violence’ assesses the current and requisite distribution of safe emergency accommodation and has examined the current level of refuge provision, evidence of demand for services and unmet need, and analysis of proximity to refuge by local communities. The Review has been completed and is undergoing the final edit for publication. It is intended to publish the Review this month. I am not yet in a position to confirm if a refuge for victims of DSGBV will be established in County Offaly. In Budget 2022, Tusla has been allocated an additional €41 million over the 2021 allocation. I have directed Tusla to use part of these additional resources to maintain supports for DSGBV services and address the recommendations arising from Tusla’s Accommodation Review of refuge provision.

My Department will be guided by the recommendations of the Review. I expect that the implementation process for the Review will identify priority areas where there is greatest urgency in achieving safe accommodation for victims of DSGBV. The Review represents my commitment to prioritising and supporting victims of DSGBV. Implementation will require collaboration from a range of statutory and other bodies. My Department continues to engage with Tusla, Non-Government Organisations that play a key role in this area, and other relevant Government Departments and Agencies (particularly the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Justice) to progress work in this area.


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