Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (608)

Pearse Doherty


608. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason she has not made herself available to receive in person a petition from a service provider (details supplied) in County Donegal; if she will be available in future to meet representatives of the organisation with a view to discussing service provision, funding and other related matters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21698/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Deputy may be aware that a representative from the organisation in question recently contacted my office with regard to a meeting and a presentation of a petition on two specified dates. My office advised the representative of the organisation in question that I would not be available to attend a meeting on those dates due to the pressures of scheduled business. My office will follow up on this matter with the organisation in question in due course. 

Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the provision of care and protection to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV). In discharging its statutory responsibility, Tusla supports 59 organisations nationally that deliver a range of services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence.

Two specific services, Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service and Donegal Women’s Centre, are funded by Tusla to provide services to domestic violence victims in County Donegal, including Inishowen. At this time, Tusla is not seeking to commission additional services in County Donegal.

A wide range of Tusla services are provided and commissioned across County Donegal, mindful of the rural nature of the county. Accessibility is an issue for service users in many rural areas across the country, and Tusla has been supporting services in developing and enhancing outreach services in order to improve access to services.

Many organisations have moved from a clinic-based response to more flexible responses, where services arrange to meet service users at times and places that are safe and convenient for them. Tusla-funded services in County Donegal have demonstrated this approach in providing an outreach service to service users in different areas of the county, including Inishowen.

In 2018, Tusla provided €3,200 in funding to the organisation in question for the delivery of counselling to both adults and children.  

I am committed to the development of domestic violence services. Tusla will continue to work with service providers throughout the country to improve services for victims of domestic violence.