The response to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) is a cross Departmental and multi-agency issue with overall policy coordinated by the Department of Justice. Separately, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has responsibility in terms of capital provision for the development of new refuges.
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) sets out signatory obligations but does not set out a standard or recommended number of refuges. With regard to the provision of shelter for victims, a policy document "Combating Violence Against Women: Minimum Standards for Support Services", published by the Council, references two possible standards depending on the types of service provision in place. Tusla has applied the standard of one shelter space per 10,000 head of female population, with specific mechanisms for measuring population and calculation of shelter spaces. This standard applied by Tusla, reflects the community-focused integrated response for victims, where community-based organisations and outreach supports are in place alongside refuges.
Tusla is finalising its Review of the Provision of Accommodation for Victims of Domestic Violence. The Review has examined the current level of refuge provision, evidence of demand for services and unmet need, and analysis of proximity to refuge by local communities. It will recommend a future course of actions for Government with regard to current and future accommodation requirements for victims of domestic violence.
These recommendations will be considered in conjunction with an audit of the responsibility for DSGBV across Government that was published by Minister O'Gorman and Minister Naughton on the 14th July. Actions on future investment in refuge provision will be included in the Third National Strategy for DSGBV, to be published at the end of 2021.