In 2018, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provided funding of €3,200 to the service referred to by the Deputy for the provision of child counselling services. This level of funding will be maintained this year. Tusla does not commission this particular service for the provision of support services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and has never done so.
Tusla currently provides funding to two domestic violence services in the Donegal area, (1) Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service and (2) Donegal Women’s Centre. Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service is the primary organisation delivering domestic violence support services across Co. Donegal, including Inishowen.
In 2018, Tusla provided over €650,000 for the provision of domestic violence services in Donegal. Tusla has advised my Department that it is not seeking to commission additional domestic violence services in Co. Donegal at this time. Tusla believes that funding additional organisations in Donegal would lead to duplication of service provision and a risk of fragmentation of services, particularly where organisations provide similar services in the same geographical area.
I appreciate the concerns of service users of Lifeline Inishowen. I have been assured by Tusla that services for children and families in Inishowen that are affected by domestic violence will continue to be provided by other funded service providers in County Donegal, including counselling.
Tusla acknowledges that accessibility is an issue for many service users in rural areas, and supports organisations to develop and enhance outreach services in order to improve service access.
Many organisations have moved from a clinic-based response to more flexible responses where arrangements are made to meet service users at times and locations that are safe and convenient for them. Tusla has advised that both Tusla-funded domestic violence support services in Donegal are flexible in their approach in order to ensure services are accessible to service users throughout the county.
Sexual violence services in Donegal are provided by Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre. In 2018, Tusla provided €230,000 to Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre. With the additional 10% funding allocation to Rape Crisis Centres nationally, 2019 funding to the organisation is expected to be €251,500.
At all times, the key priority of Tusla is to ensure the needs of victims and survivors are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility, and outcome of services.