I propose to take Questions Nos. 606 to 608, inclusive, together.
Responsibility for the funding of the Rape Crisis Centres and Refuges previously funded by the HSE became the responsibility of the new Child and Family Agency upon its establishment on 1 January, 2014. Overall policy responsibility for domestic, sexual and gender based violence rests with my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality. Due to the complex nature of the issues involved in this area, and the need for a co-ordinated and effective response to the issues involved, Cosc (the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence) was established as an executive office of the Department of Justice and Equality in 2007. Cosc formulated a comprehensive cross-Government strategy, which combines the efforts of a very broad range of organisations and individuals, to combat all forms of domestic, sexual and gender based violence. This strategy runs to 2014. Cosc are currently in the process of preparing a new cross-sectoral Strategy.
An analysis of expenditure indicates that in 2013 the HSE spent approximately €17.360m on the provision of domestic and sexual violence services. This included the funding of 60 services throughout the country:
- 20 Crisis Refuges – almost €10m
- 16 Rape Crisis Centres – over €4m
- 24 Support Services – almost €3.5m
Funding is ring fenced for the provision of frontline services in this area.
The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) had a two year contract with the HSE which was due to finish on 31st December, 2013. This contract was extended to 31st March, 2014 to allow for the establishment of the Child and Family Agency, the appointment of a Programme Manager for Domestic, Sexual and Gender based Violence and to enable the Agency to tender for future support services. The Programme Manager is due to take up the position this week and will work with the Head of procurement in the Agency to develop the tender process. It will be open to all qualified providers, including the RCNI, to tender to the Child and Family Agency for this new contract.