The strategic review of emergency accommodation for victims of domestic violence that Tusla is currently undertaking is due to be fully completed by Quarter 2 next year.
I had hoped that it would be ready by the end of this year but the impact of Covid resulted in the diversion of all available capacity to managing the issues arising for refuges and service users.
Substantial progress has been made on a number of processes which contribute to the review. These include a literature review, consultations with stakeholders, geographical and census data analysis, consultation with service users and policy analysis. The literature review is now complete.
In 2020, I am providing €25.3m to Tusla in core funding for DSGBV services. I am also providing additional resources to Tusla to address challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. €800,000 has issued to DSGBV services to date, and I anticipate that €1.2m will be provided by the end of the year.
Since the beginning of this crisis, Tusla has actively engaged with services to support a continuity of service, and prioritised DSGBV services as a key service area during COVID-19. We know that COVID-19 restrictions present particular risks to victims of domestic or sexual violence. This can make it more challenging for them to access supports.
Tusla continues to monitor the situation in refuges with regard to the impact of COVID-19. According to Tusla, at the end of September, the number of operational refuge spaces was reduced by approximately 53 so that services could operate in line with COVID-19 guidelines.
Tusla has worked with refuges to identify and secure additional accommodation places where needs have arisen, and is working to bring a number of additional safe houses onstream shortly. At the end of September, 118 women or families were in refuge services, including off-site units. This also includes 160 children.
I understand that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken into account by Tusla, in its accommodation review.
Tusla is particularly aware of the need for additional refuge spaces to be self-contained, in line with public health recommendations. The recently developed Modh Eile refuge in Galway City, which opened this year, is a good example of a model that meets these needs.