New Domestic Violence Office must be given responsibility for funding frontline services – Crowe
Sinn Féin Social and Family Affairs Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has said any new domestic violence office must be given the statutory responsibility to co-ordinate funding allocations from all departments for front line services for domestic violence. Speaking on the second night of a Sinn Féin sponsored debate on domestic violence in the Dáil this evening Deputy Crowe said frontline services for domestic violence spend much of their time chasing funding from the various government departments while they should be working with victims.
Deputy Crowe said, "The people we are talking about - victims and their families - they often say that the feel trapped, helpless, ignored, abandoned or at a loss, they feel they have nowhere to go, they feel ashamed. Some say things like 'he really loves me and the kids' or 'I provoke him'.
"Our motion calls on the government to prioritise and guarantee core funding to frontline services for domestic violence on a multi-annual basis to allow for the strategic development and delivery of services. Surely if we can deliver that then victims may no longer feel trapped, helpless, ignored or abandoned. They may feel like they have somewhere to go or someone to talk to.
"The Tallaght based domestic violence refuge Saoirse in took thirteen years to develop from an idea to a frontline group working with victims of domestic violence. When it was established it was agreed that the HSE would pay staff salaries and the local authority South Dublin County Council would pay day to day costs including heating and lighting which was supposed to be quarterly and in advance. The first payment was from January to November 2006 and nothing has been paid since. This refuge is currently helping five family units. They shouldn't have to wait months for day to day funding.
"The majority of funding for Domestic Violence services comes from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Social and Family Affairs, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaelteacht Affairs and the Department of Health. These groups are supposed to be working on the frontline to help victims but end up spending a lot of their time chasing down different departments looking for mixed funding.
"Junior Minister Frank Fahey last night announced his intention to establish a domestic violence office. This is a welcome development. However, if this office is to be a success it must be given the statutory responsibility to handle funding allocations from all departments on a multi-annual basis, full and on total budget." ENDS