Tusla, the child and family agency, provides funding and co-ordination supports to 59 organisations that deliver a range of services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence throughout the country. In 2018, as part of the planning processes to develop services for victims of domestic violence, Tusla began the process of reviewing emergency domestic violence accommodation provision in the Dublin region. The findings of this review will inform decision-making on the funding. It will also inform Tusla’s project to review specialist domestic violence accommodation nationally, which will be completed by the end of 2019. Importantly, it will also inform the Estimates process for 2020. I am pleased to confirm that a new refuge is due to open in south Dublin by the end of the third quarter of 2019. This refuge will have five family units and accommodate five adults and up to 15 children.
We need to improve geographic access. It is already difficult for women and children to leave the family home, but this becomes even more challenging when there is no safe place to go which is within a reasonable distance. This is also a key obligation to be met under the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, the Istanbul Convention, which Ireland ratified on 8 March of this year.
Currently there are challenges for Tusla in ensuring that we have the right number of refuge places in the right place for those who need them. Tusla will continue to work with service providers to plan for additional refuge developments where they are needed. Currently, 22 of the 59 organisations funded by Tusla provide emergency refuge and emergency non-refuge accommodation to victims of domestic violence and their children, with a total of 155 family units of emergency accommodation.
We are all aware of the detrimental effects that domestic violence has on victims and their children. This is why I have prioritised the development of these services.