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Question

104. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Justice the increased funding being provided for victims under Budget 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51677/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy may be aware, my Department provides funding to promote and assist the development of specific support services to victims of crime, including victims of domestic and sexual crime, within the criminal justice system. Our commitment in this area is reflected in the additional funding that has been secured by my Department under Budget 2022.
A total of €4.9m is being allocated to Victims of Crime. This includes the retention of emergency COVID-19 funding of €400k to address the impact of the pandemic on domestic violence services and an additional €785,000 in direct supports to NGOs and specific domestic violence intervention programmes. This will be important to ensure the momentum gained in supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence throughout the pandemic continues to grow. The additional funding will also ensure that court accompaniment related supports funded by my Department are available to all categories of victims of crime throughout the State.
An additional €1.1m in funding is being provided for the Legal Aid Board to begin putting in place a legal advice and legal aid service in court to victims of sexual violence. This is part of the vital work we are undertaking as a priority, to introduce important reforms to support and protect vulnerable victims and ensure our criminal justice system is more victim-centred.
Furthermore, funding of €1m is being made available under the Garda vote to refurbish and upgrade the Divisional Protective Service Units.  
An additional €2.4m has also been secured for specific awareness raising and training programmes to combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence. This brings to €5.35m the funding available for combatting domestic sexual and gender based violence, which is a priority for me and for my Department. The funding will also play a key role in supporting the preventative focus of the Third National Strategy on domestic sexual and gender based violence which is to be agreed by the end of the year.
The additional funding secured under Budget 2022 will allow us to continue to build on the work undertaken this year. We will continue to improve the system for victims, to better support them and through various means to raise awareness of, and to combat, all forms of domestic, sexual and gender based violence.
Furthermore, I understand that Minister O'Gorman has secured an increase of €41m for Tusla under Budget 2022 which includes the budget for funding organisations that deliver frontline services, including the funding of refuge spaces.
Since 2014, this part of Tusla's budget has almost doubled from €17.5m to €30m in 2021. While I understand Minister O'Gorman, in consultation with Tusla, is finalising the detailed allocation of funding resources to various programmes and service areas, I am assured that the budget for 2022 will allow Tusla to maintain supports for DSGBV services, which have seen a significant increases in demand in the context of Covid-19, and to progress recommendations emerging from its review of refuge accommodation provision.