"This is shameful"- Tipperary TD Martin Browne criticises the decrease in domestic violence refuges
Sinn Fein's Martin Browne has called for action on the decrease of women's refuge accomodation since 2015.
A response to a query to Tusla made by Sinn Fein's Violet-Anne Wynne showed that the number of refuge units funded by Tusla is at its lowest since 2015, with 137 across the country.
This is down from 142 in 2015.
Safe homes, which are independent units for low-risk families, have increased to 18 from nine in 2015.
The total number of safe units for those needing support is 155 nationwide.
"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 has confirmed that although budgetary allocations have increased over the past five-year period, capacity at women's refuges has not," said Mr Browne.
Mr Browne is also asking the Government to consider a motion brought by Sinn Fein to improve coordination between departments offering support for victims and survivors and to continue to increase funding.
According to the response from Tusla, 2015 was the first year this data was collected, with 2014 being the year Tusla was established.
They also say 2015 was the first year there was a designation of a
consolidated budget for Domestic Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (DSGBV) services.
Sinn Fein is also seeking improvements to the way data on domestic violence is collected.
"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," said Mr Browne.
Mr Browne is also calling on the government to ensure there are step-down and transitional supports for those accessing emergency refuge.
Mr Browne says the numbers are "shameful" considering the Government signed the Istanbul Convention in 2015.
The Istanbul Convention or the Istanbul Convention Action against violence against women and domestic violence is a human rights treaty in which states commit to combating gender-based violence.
The treaty came into effect in 2014, and since then, 34 states have ratified the treaty with an additional 12 signing.
Ireland signed the treaty in 2015 and ratified it in 2019.
The government will publish its third national domestic, sexual and gender-based violence strategy in the coming months.
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