The under-resourcing of Tusla and the family and child support sector is facilitating domestic violence across Galway while suspected child abuse cases are not being followed up due to pressure on staff resources.
This is the view of Sinn Féin city councillor Mairéad Farrell, who was responding to the Report of the 2015 National Review of Cases Awaiting Allocation by Tusla, the National Child and Family Agency.
According to the report, of the total 27,337 open cases regarding children being exposed to serious incidents of domestic violence, reports of physical abuse and other serious welfare or neglect concerns, 8,865 had not yet been allocated a social worker as of the end of February. It also states that, based on an in-depth sample study of 650 unallocated cases, 1,600 cases nationally required urgent and immediate follow up. The numbers of unallocated cases vary widely across the country with some waiting for up to four to five years. Also, some 44 per cent of social workers reported an “unmanageable” case load burden, which did not permit them to fully act on files.
Cllr Farrell said the findings "substantiate the concerns held by those of us who deal first-hand with vulnerable people". She said an "outrageous" situation has been allowed to develop "where domestic violence is being facilitated by a lack of funding". She added that recent cuts to the Rape Crisis Network Ireland "are made even more poignant in this context". The RCNI data collection operation noted that only one in three rape survivors reported abuse to police and almost 19,300 calls were made to RCNI helplines.
‘It’s abundantly clear that additional resources are needed urgently," said Cllr Farrell. "Both the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny have said funding and resourcing for Tusla is not an issue. It clearly is, and until action is taken domestic violence in our communities will continue to be facilitated."