Last Thursday I attended an event hosted by Saoirse Women's Refuge and Women Together Tallaght Network as part of the 16 days of activism campaign.
Before my time in government, I worked directly with the local communities in the greater Tallaght area. I strongly value the hard work and community spirit of the people of Tallaght.
I understand that the networks to which the Deputy refers receive funding from the Department of Justice and Equality.
Tusla has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic violence and provides funding for the provision of specialist front-line services. These networks do not currently fall under the remit of Tusla's funded services for domestic and sexual violence.
Younger people are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is important that negative attitudes to women and girls are addressed early on. The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 is a cross-Government initiative in which many Departments, including my own, are involved.
Tusla has led on the delivery of the Manuela programme for 15 to 17 year olds. This six-week educational programme equips young people with the skills and behaviours to promote consent in personal relationships. More than 1,500 young people have participated in the programme to date.
The Deputy raised the issue of refuge accommodation. This is also important to me as part of the services and supports for victims of domestic violence. Refuge should be temporary. The Deputy will have heard the Taoiseach express in this House his views that the perpetrator, not the victim, should leave the home. I agree with that.
Responsibility for investment in new refuges falls under the remit of a number of Government bodies. The planning and resourcing of additional refuge accommodation requires cross-Government support. Future developments will be informed by Tusla's review of emergency refuge accommodation nationwide, which will be completed in early 2020, as well as the identified needs of service users throughout the country.
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that five additional refuge spaces will become available in south Dublin this month and three additional refuge spaces will be available in Galway in January 2020.