Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is the statutory body with responsibility for the provision of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services. The Agency’s key priority is to ensure that the needs of victims are met in the best way possible. Accordingly, in 2015, a dedicated national budget of €19.5m was directed towards protecting front-line services for survivors.
As the Deputy will be aware, I announced a significant increase in the overall funding allocation to Tusla for 2016. Tusla has available to it some €676 million in funding, representing an increase of €38 million over 2015. The 2016 allocation includes specific funding of €200,000 requested by Tusla to support the implementation of obligations under the Istanbul Convention on violence against women and domestic violence. Tusla has also identified the need for further funding in subsequent years to develop services in line with the provisions of the Convention. This will be the subject of consideration in the context of overall funding to be provided to Tusla in 2017 and beyond.
Additional provision of outreach services and an increase in the number of emergency refuge spaces in the greater Dublin area are amongst specific developments planned for 2016 in order to enhance access to services for victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence.
Tusla has also established a nationally managed structure, with a single line of accountability and a dedicated national team to support provision of accessible and high quality services. Planning for domestic violence and sexual violence services will seek to address gaps, avoid duplication and support effective delivery of frontline services nationally.
The increase in funding for 2016 significantly strengthens Tusla's base funding level and gives the Agency greater capacity to respond to current risk and anticipated demand in 2016.
The precise level of funding to be provided to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services this year has been considered by Tusla in developing its Business Plan for 2016, which has been submitted to me for consideration.