Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ó Broin seeks meeting with Minister Zappone to discuss domestic violence emergency accommodation

18 April, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has requested a meeting with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone to discuss the lack of data available on the number of adults and children that spent time in Tusla funded domestic violence refuge and step down accommodation in 2017.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The Department of Children and Youth affairs, through Tusla, fund emergency and step down accommodation for adults and children made homeless as a result of domestic violence.

“The most recent figures available provided by Tusla in response to a parliamentary question show that in 2016 1,562 adults and 2,223 children were accommodated in emergency refuge or emergency non-refuge accommodation. There are no 2017 figures available yet.

“The average length of stay in emergency accommodation varied in 2016. According to the PQ response: ‘Of the 1,604 admissions reported for 2016, 766 were for between 1 and 7 days; 263 were for between 8 days and 14 days; 266 were for between 15 days and 6 weeks, and the remaining 309 stayed for more than 6 weeks.’

“The delay in providing the data for 2017 is concerning. So, is the fact that despite numerous requests from Sinn Féin the Department of Housing’s monthly homeless figures do not include women and children in Tusla funded emergency accommodation. 

“The housing needs of victims of domestic violence are going unaccounted for in the states’ official homeless stats. This is unacceptable, especially given the concerns the Women’s Aid Impact Report raised around the impact of the current housing crisis

“I have written to Minister Zappone requesting a meeting to discuss our concerns around this issue and around the lack of up to date data from Tusla.” 

Note: Please see PQ response below

To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of adults and children that spent time in Tusla funded domestic violence refuge and step down accommodation in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018; and the average length of time these families spent in emergency accommodation.

REPLY

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. In discharging its statutory responsibility, Tusla supports 20 emergency refuge and support services in providing services for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Twenty four community-based domestic violence support services and 16 rape crisis centres also receive financial support from Tusla. Funding for these services was increased by €1.7m in 2018, to a total of €23.8m.

Tusla funds 155 family units, comprising 147 emergency refuge family units and 8 emergency non-refuge family units. The remit of these services is to provide safe emergency accommodation on a short-term basis.

Tusla does not have access to live data on refuge use. However, information provided by funded domestic violence services indicates that refuges consistently operate at full or near full-capacity. Any vacancies are generally attributed to the turnover between the discharge and admission of clients.

Tusla-funded services provide data to Tusla retrospectively on an annual basis. The data provided below refers to the use of services in 2016. 2017 data will be made available later in the year.

In 2016, a total of 1,520 women were accommodated in emergency refuge accommodation and an additional 42 women were accommodated in emergency non-refuge accommodation. In total 1,562 women were accommodated.

In 2016, a total of 2,223 children were accommodated in emergency refuge or emergency non-refuge accommodation. 

Some service users are admitted to emergency refuges on more than one occasion over the course of a year, and as a result, the number of individual admissions is greater than the number of women admitted. In 2016, services reported on 1,604 separate admissions to emergency or emergency non-refuge accommodation. 

Services report on the “length of stay” of individuals in their care by selecting from a number of categories representing different lengths of stay.  Of the 1,604 admissions reported for 2016, 766 were for between 1 and 7 days; 263 were for between 8 days and 14 days; 266 were for between 15 days and 6 weeks, and the remaining 309 stayed for more than 6 weeks.

Connect with Sinn Féin