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New statutory agency must focus on delivering more refuge spaces for victims of domestic abuse – Seery Kearney

6th January 2024 - Mary Seery-Kearney

Cuan, the new statutory agency dedicated to tackling and reducing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, must focus on accelerating the delivery of new refuge spaces throughout the country, according to a Fine Gael Senator.

Senator Mary Seery Kearney said the establishment of Cuan which becomes operational this month reaffirms Government’s commitment to tackling domestic, gender and sexual based violence and to increasing refuge spaces comprehensively in every county across the country.

Senator Seery Kearney said: “The establishment of Cuan, which means harbour or haven, is tasked with delivering on commitments under Zero Tolerance, the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (DSGBV).

“We know that improvements can be made enabling for better coordination in the provision of services and supports for victims and survivors of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and ensuring that they are readily accessible and all-encompassing.

“Cuan will now ensure this happens and it will work collaboratively with the NGO and DSGBV services sector to ensure the best possible supports are in place to meet the needs of victims and survivors.

“One of its responsibilities will be to support and oversee the delivery of safe and accessible refuge accommodation, and ensuring the delivery of excellent services to victims of DSGBV which including helpline and other supports, which is so important.

“Work is underway to double the number of refuge spaces over the lifetime of the strategy, bringing it to 280 by the end of 2026.

“Development of up to 36 refuge units is underway in Wexford, Dundalk, and Navan. There will be 98 refuge units in priority locations delivered by the end of 2025 along with a further 19 additional and upgraded units by the end of the strategy.

“An interdepartmental group is working to ensure the highest standard of refuge accommodation, delivered in the most efficient way. This has already resulted in a more streamlined process for capital funding applications for new refuges.

“By putting in place the correct structures to deliver additional refuge accommodation, coupled with the development of Cuan, it is hoped additional refuge spaces will be accelerated and opened each year.

“I am mindful that we are emerging from the festive period which generally sees a marked increase in domestic abuse incidents when victims, and in some cases their children, are often in the presence more of their abuser in the home.

“Help is always available, and to anyone in danger please contact the Gardaí when you are in a safe position to do so.

“There are DPSUs (Divisional Protective Services Units) available in every Garda division. This helps ensure that when vulnerable victims present to Gardaí, they are met with professional and expert assistance,” Senator Seery Kearney concluded.


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