The scale of intervention needed to address gender based violence in Ireland is not reflected in resourcing. Domestic Violence alone (not including sexual violence) has been estimated to cost the Irish state €2.2bn annually or 1.16% of 2014 GDP. In 2014 the government provided €20m of funding to domestic and sexual violence services which is only 0.3% of the annual government expenditure.
Eight years of austerity has seen an average of 20% and 13% cuts, to existing funding across sexual and domestic violence NGOs respectively against a background of increased demand. The sexual and domestic coalition bodies, RCNI and SAFE Ireland, were cut by 70% and 49% in the same period.
In 2009 7,512 women received support from a DV service, this figure grew to 9,500 in 2014. Waiting lists for rape crisis counselling are between 2 and 12 months and by our calculations and according to the requirements set forth by the Istanbul Convention and the Council of Europe Ireland’s has only 31% of the recommended minimum shelter provision. (See note 1). In 2015 there were 4,796 unmet requests for emergency accommodation1, women and children were turned away from refuges because there simply was no space.
In 2016 the budget increased by just €200,000. The 2017 additional budget for the national planning agency Tusla of €37m has not been allocated yet and there is no information yet available about how much of that increase will find its way to DSGBV services which currently are allocated just 3% of the Tusla overall budget.
- Allocate an additional €31 million annually (from 2017) to address immediate gaps in our struggling services, from the Gardaí to specialist domestic and sexual violence services to the provision of safe housing.
- Increase the emergency accommodation capacity of domestic violence services by 10% or by 14 family units every year for the next five years.
- The allocation of budgeting must become transparent through a national development plan by Tusla which is public and transparent to ensure accountable and equitable access to services.
However, the underfunding of services deals only with a symptom and not the cause.
1. SAFE Ireland National Domestic Violence Service Statistics Report 2015 is yet to be published.