The long-awaited publication of the Tusla Review of Accommodation for Victims of Domestic Violence is the first ever audit of accommodation services undertaken on behalf of the State. Whilst the scope of the review was limited in its terms of reference, the data, analysis, and findings provide an evidence base which unambiguously supports the claims from domestic violence services over many years, that domestic violence accommodation is substantially deficient in capacity.
Speaking after the launch, CEO Mary McDermott stated that
“This validation of need is long overdue, and we thank Tusla and Minister O’Gorman for finally getting this over the line. We had been concerned that the 3rd National Strategy might have been completed prior to publication, and the exclusion of the Tusla data from the strategy would have severely compromised progress over the coming years. We are extremely grateful also to Minister McEntee for her recognition of the importance of this vital information and her consideration of its importance to the Strategy.”
The key findings of the audit unambiguously confirmed the need for more refuge provision, the necessity for it to be fully integrated with wraparound specialist services, and the necessity for an inter-departmental mechanism for development and commissioning. These proposals have been central to Safe Ireland lobbying for many years. It is also welcome that Tusla notes the limitations of its recommendations and acknowledges that they do not reflect all of the minimum standards set out by the Council of Europe for domestic violence policy and standards. Speaking to the limitations Ms McDermott said:
“The Council of Europe guidelines for UN convention signatories were written in 2008 and this is Ireland’s first aspiration towards adopting the standards set out for domestic violence provision. We acknowledge that the Tusla review was not charged with considering all of them and Safe Ireland will continue to advocate for optimum standards. However, after 14 years of political apathy we welcome a commencement towards achieving the minimum standard provision set out in the report. A well-designed response, fit-for-purpose and sustainably stepped out, is infinitely more important than a hasty rush to bricks and mortar. The Review has clearly identified the urgent priorities in the short-term and the need to work on extended provision over the coming decade; and Safe Ireland has much to offer in the co-design of these solutions.”
It is also significant that the report acknowledges the need for a suite of accommodation measures some of which can mitigate the demands on refuge such as Safe-at-Home sanctuary schemes. In this regard Safe Ireland will continue to advocate for a Whole Housing Approach to support women, and children on the pathway to a safe home.
About Safe Ireland
Safe Ireland is a national development and co-ordination body with responsibility for Domestic Violence (DV) which over time has developed four distinct functions: investigating the causes and effects of DV; delivering frontline refuge and support services; developing guidelines for best practice in the delivery of local support services; and influencing national strategic policy. This is achieved by working directly with a range of public bodies; local independent frontline DV services; academic institutions; philanthropists; and corporate partners.
For further information on this statement please contact: Miriam Kivlehan Programme & Communication Manager 086 383 6877 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org