Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Ceisteanna (72)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

72. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will meet an organisation (details supplied) in County Donegal; her views on whether Ireland is compliant with the Istanbul convention, which was ratified in March 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

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.

I understand that Tusla provided funding of €3,200 to the organisation in question in 2018 and again in 2019 for child counselling services.

Tusla is providing some €650,000 in funding in 2019 to support domestic violence services across Co. Donegal, including Inishowen. Tusla believes that funding additional domestic violence services in Donegal would lead to the duplication of service provision and a risk of fragmentation of services, particularly where organisations provide similar services in the same geographical area.

I am happy to meet with the organisation referred to by the Deputy, but I am informed that Tusla is not seeking to commission additional domestic violence services in Donegal at this time. In the circumstances, I do not feel a meeting would be productive.

I have been assured by Tusla that children and families in Inishowen affected by domestic violence can access Tusla funded services in County Donegal.

Ireland ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention) on 8 March, 2019. Actions to comply with the obligations of the Convention are relevant to a number Government Departments and State bodies, including my Department. Such actions are reflected in the National Strategy that is led by the Department of Justice and Equality.

Since becoming Minister, I have prioritised the development of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) services. This is reflected in the additional funding provided for these services which has increased from €22.1 million in 2017 to €25.3 million in 2019, and has supported Tusla in meeting its obligations under the Istanbul Convention.

Funding allocated this year has allowed the recruitment of additional outreach workers facilitating better access to services, and the ongoing national roll-out of healing programmes for children who have witnessed domestic violence. New emergency domestic violence refuge accommodation will be operational in South Dublin by year end. Additional refuge spaces will become available in Rathmines and in Galway early in 2020. Funding has also been provided to enhance the national domestic violence helpline, and to advance the training of front line staff for the provision of specialist and outreach services.

Tusla is undertaking a strategic reviews of domestic violence refuge accommodation provision with a view to meeting obligations under the Istanbul Convention. The substantive work of the reviews will be completed early in 2020.