Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1196)

Mary Lou McDonald


1196. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of child emergency refuge accommodation beds available for victims of domestic violence. [13290/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual or gender-based violence.

Tusla-funded organisations provide a total of 155 family units of emergency domestic violence accommodation to victims of domestic violence. Tusla funds the provision of 145 spaces in emergency refuge accommodation and 10 in emergency non-refuge accommodation. Rathmines Women's Refuge, which houses nine accommodation units, has been temporarily closed and is due to reopen as a domestic violence refuge in Quarter 2, 2019.

The 155 family units nationally vary in size from single bedded units accommodating a woman without children to units which are able to accommodate up to eight people. The average size of a family unit is 4 bedded. A number of factors must be considered in relation to the total national bed capacity to accommodate children as:

- children are not accommodated in emergency domestic violence family units unless they are accompanied by an adult victim,

- in most cases a family unit will be used to accommodate a single family. However, two unaccompanied women may on occasion be asked to share a two-bedded unit,

- units may on occasion operate over capacity to facilitate a particular family size,

- units may be flexible in terms of bed capacity and may have a sofa bed or be able to accommodate a temporary bed or a child’s cot when required,

- services may reconfigure room arrangements to suit the number, age and gender of families members who present.

- the number of children in a family, on a particular occasion, in a particular location may not always align with the number of beds in an available unit.

It is important that the needs of victims of domestic violence are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility, and outcome of services. I am committed to supporting Tusla in meeting the needs of individuals who experience domestic violence.