Local Sinn Féin Deputy, Sorca Clarke, has called for increased funding to be made available for women’s refuges across the country.
In response to a parliamentary question submitted by Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne, it has been revealed that capacity at women’s refuges has actually decreased since 2015.
The Government is set to publish the third national domestic, sexual and gender-based violence strategy over the coming months, and Sinn Féin are calling on the Government to rectify historically inadequate amount of funding for domestic, sexual and gender based violence (DSGBV ) services.
Last week the party brought forward a motion calling for improved coordination between various departments offering supports for victims and survivors, increased funding and more methodical and disaggregated data to be recorded in order to inform effective policy.
“The numbers we have received via the PQ system have exposed how ineffective spending has been in domestic, sexual and gender based violence supports. Tusla have confirmed that although budgetary allocations have increased over the past five year period, capacity at women’s refuges has not.
“While 142 refuge spaces were available in 2015, this number had in fact dropped to 137 in 2021. This is shameful considering the State signed the Istanbul Convention in 2015 and yet hasn’t managed to increase the refuge supports in the seven years since then.
“Domestic violence has been exacerbated over the pandemic and women and children have suffered in the fallout. There are still several counties without refuges and what message does this send to the women experiencing domestic violence in these areas – that they have nowhere to go?
“We need to ensure that refuges are resourced to provide an adequate level of support in each and every county.
“We also need to ensure there is appropriate access to step-down and transitional accommodation so that women can move on from their time in refuges feeling safe and supported to do so.
“Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to correct the historic underinvestment in domestic, sexual and gender based violence services in this state and genuine political action to improve outcomes for survivors and victims,” Teachta Clarke asserted.