136. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Justice the details of supports and funding made available for domestic abuse supports in Budget 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51634/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The government is committed to tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence in all its forms, and to supporting victims of this heinous crime.
My Department provides funding to support the work of An Garda Síochána to combat such violence. It also provides funding to promote and assist the development of specific support services for victims of crime within the criminal justice system, which of course includes victims of domestic and sexual crime.
The commitment of this Government to combatting domestic, sexual and gender based violence and to supporting victims is reflected in the funding allocated under Budget 2022, with a total of €13m allocated to my Department for this. This represents an increased allocation of €5.35m and will enable us to roll out specific awareness raising and training programmes to combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence. It will also allow us to provide additional supports to NGOs and specific domestic violence intervention programmes and it will support a number of front line activities.
As part of this, an additional €1.1m will be used to put in place a legal advice and legal aid service in court for victims of sexual violence and €1 million is being provided to the Garda vote to refurbish and upgrade the Divisional Protective Service Units. This will allow us to better support and protect vulnerable victims.
The Deputy will be aware that my Department is leading the development across government of the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence. This plan will outline how the government will radically improve services and supports for victims and will be the most ambitious plan to date. My Department is also currently implementing Supporting a Victim’s Journey, our plan to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases, and which was published by Minister McEntee last year. It will reform the criminal justice system at every point a victim comes into contact with it, while a national public awareness campaign on consent will further strengthen work to prevent these crimes.
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.