Government must not allow domestic violence agency to close
Sinn Féin Justice and Human Rights Spokesperson Aengus O Snodaigh TD has called on the government to immediately provide the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency (NDVIA) with interim funding. He was speaking after a meeting yesterday between the NDVIA and Department of Justice officials resulting in a threat of the agency closing imminently.
The Dublin South-Central TD said: "An estimated one in five Irish women have experienced domestic violence. However, only a very small number of these women successfully engage with the justice system. The independent evaluation of the NDVIA pilot has shown that the crucial supports they provide have encouraged victims to stick with the legal process.
"I am calling on the government to immediately provide the NDVIA with interim funding pending their decision on whether to continue funding the agency into the future. It is essential that the learning and experience of the 4 core staff is not lost due to an unnecessary and preventable suspension of funding.
"The National Crime Council, Law Reform Commission and Law Society have all recommended at various stages dating back to 1999 that the Probation Service should have a role in family court providing reports and advice to the judiciary around barring orders etc. But the government refuse to implement this recommendation.
"Since 2003 in the pilot areas of Dun Laoghaire and Bray District Court the NDVIA have been monitoring and tracking offender's behaviours and providing risk assessments to the Courts. The work of the NDVIA is absolutely vital, particularly in the absence of this role being undertaken by the Probation Service.
"On the 7th of December I questioned Ministers Michael McDowell and Frank Fahey on this matter in the Dáil. I warned them at that time against allowing any funding gap to occur for the NDVIA. I urged them to guarantee core funding into the future and to extend the pilot scheme across the state.
"Interim funding is immediately required and in the long term it is essential that the government guarantee core funding to this agency. To date funding has been delivered in a piecemeal fashion and this is absolutely unacceptable because it has forced the agency on a number of occasions to cease receiving referrals."