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Government must increase funding for domestic violence accommodation services – Ó Broin

9 June, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD


Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, has called on the government to substantially increase funding for domestic violence accommodation support services.

Deputy Ó Broin made the call following a response from Minister Katherine Zappone to a parliamentary question which showed that Tusla only received a paltry €15.6m in funding for all domestic violence support services in 2015. The agency has only been allocated €20.6m for 2016.

Speaking this morning, he said:

“The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has stated that of the 78 newly homeless families presenting to it in August 2015, “relationship breakdown” has been cited as one of the primary causes.

“Similarly, in a survey of 70 homeless families in March this year, cited by Sonas, a domestic violence charity specialising in housing, one in six said domestic violence was the main cause of their homeless experience.

“In reality, the charity believes this figure is closer to one in four when you factor in those who have become homeless in the past due to domestic violence.”

“According to Sonas, the majority of the newly homeless families are female headed households.  It also states that one of the root causes of women and children becoming homeless is domestic violence.

 “Tusla’s 2016 budget of only €20.6m is for all domestic violence support services. This will just maintain services at a 2015 level, with a small amount of additional funding for emergency accommodation in the Greater Dublin area.

“Given the growing level of family homelessness, this figure is clearly insufficient.  The government needs to make a specific commitment in Budget 2017 to substantially increase funding for domestic violence accommodation support services.

“The government also need to ensure better coordination between Tusla, the HSE, Local Authorities and NGOs to make sure that the needs of all domestic violence survivors are met.” 

Note: See the PQ in question below


QUESTION NO: 679
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Dr. Katherine Zappone)
by Deputy Eoin Ó Broin
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 08/06/2016

* To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the annual spend on domestic violence services for households experiencing homelessness from 2012 to 2016 to date, in tabular form..

- Eoin Ó Broin


REPLY.
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence whether in the context of the family or otherwise. At all times, Tusla’s key priority is to ensure that the needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence are being met in the best way possible.

A network of 60 organisations provide services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence in Ireland, including 20 services providing emergency refuge accommodation to women and children and 24 community-based domestic violence services. 

The Agency has established a more co-ordinated approach for provision of these services with a dedicated national budget of €20.6m in 2016. This includes an additional €200,000 to support implementation of obligations under the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence(Istanbul Convention).  

In 2015, particular priority was given to protecting frontline services, and in that context, funding for services for victims of domestic and sexual violence survivors was protected. Continuing with this commitment, in 2016, funding to domestic violence services has been protected at the same level as 2015 overall, with some additional provision for emergency accommodation in the greater Dublin area for an extra eight family units of emergency accommodation and also enhanced access to community based outreach services for victims.

Tusla has advised that it does not hold the details of annual spend on domestic violence services for households who experience homelessness within the totality of domestic violence services. 

Domestic violence refuge services can provide services for women and children fleeing domestic violence who are temporarily homeless. However, this is only a subset of the total number of households experiencing homelessness and domestic violence, and many of these families do not appear in homeless data if they return to the family home or find other accommodation solutions.

Details of total Tusla funding for domestic violence services is set out in tabular format below. Tusla has further advised that it does not hold funding details for domestic violence services prior to 2014 as these services were previously funded by the Health Service Executive.

Tusla funding for Domestic Violence Services 2014

Tusla funding for Domestic Violence Services 2015

Tusla funding for Domestic Violence Services January – end June2016

€13,356,008.12

€15,644,044.44*

€7,475,707.33

*Includes funding transferred from the Department of Environment Community and Local Government.

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