Minister Zappone silent on meeting request on domestic violence accommodation – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has criticised the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone for failing to respond to numerous meeting requests to discuss the issue of domestic violence emergency and step down accommodation.
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.
“Since May 2017, on foot of a document that I published on housing and domestic violence, I have requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss the matter; specifically, to discuss the way in which Tusla records and reports the number of women and children in domestic violence accommodation and whether these figures can be published in conjunction with the Department of Housing’s monthly homeless reports.
“Unfortunately, there is an issue with accessing up to date figures from Tusla on the number of women and children who accessed domestic violence emergency and step down accommodation.
“As the response to the parliamentary question below highlights, it is now November and we still don’t have the 2017 figures.
“The most recent figures available provided by Tusla for 2016 show that 1,562 adults and 2,223 children were accommodated in emergency refuge or emergency non-refuge accommodation.
“I again requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss this in April 2018 and once again in August 2018 and on the 23rd of October last I wrote to the Minister seeking a meeting with her before the end of 2018.
“I found it a bit disingenuous of the Minister to claim that women and children are not counted in the homeless figures for ‘political reasons’, without seeking to engage with those who have been raising the issue for two years.”
Note: Please see the PQ in question below
For Written Answer on: 06/11/2018
Question Number(s): 956 Question Reference(s): 44927/18
Department: Children and Youth Affairs
Asked by: Eoin Ó Broin TD
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 average length of time these families spent in emergency accommodation.
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has responsibility for the provision of funding, co-ordination and support to 59 organisations nationally that deliver a range of services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence. 22 of these organisations provide emergency refuge and emergency non-refuge accommodation to victims of domestic violence and their children.
Tusla does not have access to live data on refuge use. Tusla-funded services provide data to Tusla on a retrospective basis. Tusla is currently in the process of gathering and processing this data for 2017 and expects to be in a position to report on it shortly. At present, the information sought is not available. Initial indications from funded domestic violence services are that refuges consistently operate at full or near full-capacity.
It should be noted that transitional or step down accommodation units, which may be run by Tusla-funded organisations, are not directly funded by Tusla. However, Tusla provides funding to many of these organisations for a range of community-based services to victims of domestic violence, and residents in transitional or step down accommodation units may access these services.