Support for new agency to deal with domestic violence

ireland
Support For New Agency To Deal With Domestic Violence Support For New Agency To Deal With Domestic Violence
Under plans to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday, following the completion of a report by Tusla, there is a recommendation for the urgent provision of another 50 to 60 refuge spaces.
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Vivienne Clarke

The development manager of the Offaly Domestic Violence Support Services, Anne Clarke, has expressed support for a new statutory agency to oversee the State’s response to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

Ms Clarke, who is also a member of Safe Ireland, told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that while she was delighted to see progress, she was concerned that providing more spaces in refuges was not enough.

Under plans to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday, following the completion of a report by Tusla, there is a recommendation for the urgent provision of another 50 to 60 refuge spaces.

The Tusla report highlights gaps in geographic coverage for refuge spaces and concludes there are not enough spaces to meet the needs of the population.

Ms Clarke said the issue was not just about a shortage of refuge spaces, it was also about resources for other services such as HAP which can take up to six months to access. There needed to be an examination of other levels of protection such as out of hours protection.

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There needed to be support for all services and to ensure that all agencies interact and that there was engagement throughout the entire process, she said.

Ms Clarke admitted she was concerned about the timeline for the establishment of the new agency. There should be no interruption of services when there was a move from Tusla to the new agency.

Demand was still rising for access to domestic violence services, she said. There was a need for a more cohesive response, a whole-of-community response involving the police, judiciary, the Departments of the Environment, Social Protection and Housing.

“A lot of women leaving abusive relationships have huge poverty.”

There was a need to support women on their journey from an abusive relationship, added Ms Clarke, who went on to thank Minister for Justice Helen McEntee for bringing forward the plan for the new agency.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, email helpline@womensaid.ie) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01 554 3811, email hello@mensaid.ie) for support and information.

Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at safeireland.ie/get-help/where-to-find-help/.

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.

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