I am pleased that Ireland ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention) on the 8 March, 2019 - International Women's Day.
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).
Since taking up office, in 2016, as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I have prioritised the development of these services. This has been reflected in the level of additional funding provided to Tusla in this area, which has increased from €22.1 million in 2017 to €25.3 million in 2019.
Tusla currently funds 155 family units of domestic violence accommodation. A family unit accommodates 1 adult and up to 3 children.
Additional funding this year has allowed for the opening of a new refuge later this month in South Dublin, providing 5 family units of emergency refuge accommodation. A newly refurbished refuge is also scheduled to open in Galway in January 2020 and will provide an additional 3 family units of emergency refuge accommodation.
With regard to the future provision of additional refuge spaces, it should be noted that the responsibility for capital investment in new refuges falls under the remit of a number of Government bodies. Tusla is in contact with funded organisations in relation to proposed new developments, with plans underway in a number of areas for additional refuge spaces. 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.