Extra funding for DSGBV service providers
Today, additional funding for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) services for 2023, was announced by Minister Helen McEntee.
Much of the additional €6.8m is to be available to established DSGBV service providers. These include Offaly Domestic Violence Service, Laois Domestic Abuse Service and the Rape Crisis Centres.
We know the numbers of people contacting DSGBV services in the Midlands dramatically increased during COVID-19 restrictions and services are to be commended for their response.
I fully support Minister McEntee's commitment that
“[..]every person who needs a refuge space will have access to one, and this extra €6.8m for Tusla will be used to maintain existing services, to address existing acute demand, and for the enhancement and development of new services.”
Today's announcement is significant for the Midlands counties of Laois and Offaly as it includes a commitment to ‘address geographic gaps in provision’. Currently both counties are without refuge or safe house space. I am very aware of and welcome the hard work underway by support services, Tusla and the Local Authorities to identify and secure sites for safe houses in Offaly and refuge space in Laois.
Challenging social and cultural norms
There are 4 pillars to the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual & Gender-Based Violence: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Policy Co-orination. While all are equally important, prevention is something we, as individuals, communities and a society, can support. I welcome today’s funding as further Government support of awareness raising activities – and we must all step up to play our part to challenge the social and cultural norms that underpin and contribute to gender-based violence.
Cllr Mark Hackett
Cllr Mark Hackett, Chair of the Offaly Joint Policing Subgroup on Gender Based Violence in Public Amenities which is due to publish it’s report next month said “It is clear from the contributions of stakeholders to the work of the Subgroup that targeted awareness campaigns and bystander education have an important role to play in combating Gender Based Violence and harassment. There is collaborative work underway on this by services in Offaly and I hope that today’s funding announcement can further support these.”