Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Pa Daly TD, has today raised the government’s continued failure to meet its legal obligations under the Istanbul Convention on refuge and safe accommodation spaces for victims of domestic abuse and violence.
Also responding to the CSO Sexual Violence Survey 2022 data released today, the Kerry TD added that the entrenched prevalence of sexual abuse and violence of women across Irish society reinforces the need for Government to ramp up its resourcing and delivery of the Third National Strategy on Domestic Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
Teachta Daly said:
“This week has seen discussions in the Justice Committee and in the Dáil chamber in relation to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (DSGBV). Within the committee, we held pre-legislative scrutiny on the draft legislation to establish the new statutory Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence state agency.
“Evidence given to the Justice Committee leaders by the DSGBV sector outlined the importance of the new agency to explicitly recognise the broad work of the DSGBV sector beyond service provision and queried the independence, ability to lead, and strategic role of the agency and its board as currently presented in the draft legislation.
“The importance of inclusion in the legislation’s language and within the new agency’s work was raised by TENI and AkiDwA in addition to the need to ensure representation of women and ethnic minority groups in the agency’s staff and board membership.
“The significant shortage of refuge and safe accommodation was discussed with witnesses highlighting again that nine counties have no provision at all. Mechanisms to remove perpetrators from the family home need also to be progressed.
“There were just 181 refuge places open to the end of 2022, yet a minimum of 470 need to be provided if the government is to meet its legal obligations to victims and their children.
“There remains no capital budget line in any government department, including the Department of Justice to deliver new refuge provision, and just €1.13m was allocated to Tusla for 2023 to support domestic violence services to develop new accommodation.
“As set out by Safe Ireland, the DSGBV Agency must develop a National Services Development Plan, and the first major task undertaken under that plan to be the development of a National Strategic Accommodation Plan to addresses deficits in the provision of short-term emergency accommodation for victims and longer-term accommodation solutions and pathways for survivors.
“The CSO initial Sexual Violence Survey 2022 data released today is a sobering reminder of the importance of the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence which remains woefully underfunded and under-resourced. 52% of women and 28% of men reported experiencing sexual violence, according to the survey
“If government parties are now truly committed to a zero-tolerance policy, then we need to see a step-change in the implementation and funding of the strategy.”