Needs of women and children living with violence almost totally ignored for sixth year running.
Safe Ireland said that it was gravely disappointed with the lack of targeted provisions in Budget 2020 for women and children living with violence and abuse.
The national social change agency working to eradicate domestic violence said that this represented the sixth budget in a row when the needs of women and children had been almost completely ignored.
Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that this was all the more disappointing given the Government’s heralded new Domestic Violence Act (commenced in early 2019) and its high-profile ratification of the Istanbul Convention on International Women’s Day.
Safe Ireland had called for the Government to commit to €30m in current expenditure across a variety of services, including funding to the Justice system and An Garda Síochána, and €20m in capital expenditure in 2020.
While Safe Ireland welcomes the Budget provision for additional Garda recruits, the national agency said that the necessary widespread Garda training on domestic violence, recognising the new offence of coercive control, would not be provided for within presented Budget estimates.
It also said that the €29 million additional budget for Tusla was completely inadequate to ensure the investment needed by an already fragile, creaking and exhausted domestic violence infrastructure.
O’Halloran said that legislation and policy announcements would remain little more than PR stunts without adequate investment in the infrastructure and preventative measures needed every day by women and children.
“Legislation and the ratification of international conventions mean nothing if they are not backed up with proper and essential investment,” O’Halloran said.
“We are gravely disappointed that Tusla does not appear to have received adequate additional funding to allow for any meaningful investment in the maintenance and development of domestic violence services, as the critical first line response to women and children,” she continued. “This already fragile network of specialist services and refuges is close to breaking point but this Government seems to think that this is acceptable, despite its false promises otherwise.”
Safe Ireland also said that housing provisions within the budget were extremely disappointing and completely unimaginative and would have a continuing devastating impact on women and children who are homeless once they leave their violent homes. Housing instability is four times more likely for women who have experienced domestic violence compared with women who have not been victimised and approximately one in four homeless women cite intimate partner violence as a major contributor to their homelessness.
For more information contact: Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207