RCNI welcomes the recommitment of this government and Minister Helen McEntee to the absolute prioritisation of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) in Budget 2023. The €9m additional budget for the issue is very welcome with €7m of this is earmarked for services. However, the question remains for RCNI of how much of this funding will reach and impact the acute demands on sexual violence services. Much of this additional funding may already be earmarked to address the critical issue of increasing accommodation for domestic violence survivors outlined in the recently published National Strategy on DSGBV following the government accommodation review in February.
After decades of chronic underfunding, supporting the holistic, specialist and timely responses that can meet survivors’ needs and protect their rights will not be fixed in one budget. In the details to follow this Budget Day we hope to be hearing specifics that tell us that the government has understood the urgent matters of capacity, sustainability and infrastructure, including capital investment, that the chronically under-resourced sector now needs to survive.
RCNI again reiterates our commitment to the ambition of the Minister’s zero tolerance strategy and welcomes the €2m budget assigned to the next phase of its implementation. The step change that is envisioned in the strategy will require insight, investment and capacity from all the stakeholders. The NGO specialists across the sector must be resourced to engage in partnership in this process to secure the transformation this government has understood is necessary to build a society free from sexual and domestic violence.
We look forward to building on this impetus over the course of this strategy and the successive budgets over its lifetime.