I propose to take Questions Nos. 599 and 607 together.
The Question from the Deputy makes reference to Parliamentary Question No. 646 of 27 May 2014. This Parliamentary Question was replied to by my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms Frances Fitzgerald T.D. The Minster, Deputy Fitzgerald replied to the Deputy in relation to the implementation of the EU Victims of Crime Directive including those who have suffered from sexual violence as policy for this area rests with her Department. The EU Victims of Crime Directive requires member states to establish free of charge and confidential specialist support services for victims. I am replying to the Deputy in relation to the funding of Rape Crisis Centres and Refuges.
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 1st January, 2014. In 2013 the HSE spent over €17 million on the provision of domestic and sexual violence services.
This included the funding of 60 services throughout the country comprising:-
- €10m for 20 Crisis Refuges
- Over €4 million for 16 Rape Crisis Centres
- Almost €3.5 million for 24 Support Services.
Funding in 2014 for Domestic, Sexual and Gender based Violence Services has been retained at 2013 levels.
Rape Crisis Network Ireland had a two year service level agreement with the HSE which expired on 31st December, 2013, but was extended to 31st March, 2014 to allow for establishment of the Child and Family Agency, the appointment of a Programme Manager for Domestic, Sexual and Gender based Violence Services and to enable the Agency to tender for future support services to support frontline agencies. The Agency has advised that this contract has now been extended, with revised conditions to the end of 2014.
The Child and Family Agency is currently undertaking a review of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence service provision and will be developing a strategic plan later in 2014, to support the delivery of effective and accessible services over the coming years. The Programme Manager for Domestic, Sexual and Gender based Violence Services in the Agency will work with the Agency Head of Procurement to establish a tender process, due to begin in September, for longer-term provision of support to front-line agencies from 2015. All qualified providers, including the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, may tender for this new contract.