Plan for new state agency moves forward to provide dual shelters for victims of domestic violence – The Irish Times

A plan for a new state agency to oversee and support a doubling of shelters for victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence has progressed.

Attorney General Simon Harris announced Monday that the government has authorized the drafting of legislation to create the agency dedicated to combating and reducing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (GDPR), as envisaged in Zero Tolerance, the third national Strategy for DSGBV.

The agency, due to be in place by January 1, 2024, will oversee and support the provision of shelters for victims to meet the commitment to double the number of shelter places and increase the number of safe houses and other shelters for the duration of the Strategy. It will also ensure a permanent structure to help provide more emergency shelters in the long term.

The agency “will bring the dedicated and expert focus needed to address this serious and complex societal issue,” Secretary Harris said in a statement.

The release of the general scheme of the legislation sends “a clear message from the government that domestic and gender-based violence will never be tolerated,” he said. He also thanked Secretary Helen McEntee “for her leadership on the zero-tolerance strategy.”

The core tasks of the new agency include the planning, commissioning and financing of DSGBV services as well as the definition of standards for services and places of refuge and their monitoring. Other functions are the dissemination of information on DSGBV; Management and support of awareness campaigns; and conducting, commissioning and supporting research.

The agency will play a key role in engaging and advising stakeholders on GDPR issues.

The legislation has been guided by the Third National Strategy and by working with relevant government departments and state bodies, including the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Tusla, from which the new agency will take over the delivery of services for GDPR- Victim. Coordination was also held with the non-governmental DSGBV sector.

The agency’s work and the performance of its chief executive officer are overseen by a non-executive board of directors.

The general draft of the Bill is now referred to the Oireachtas Judiciary Committee for pre-legislative consideration. Once their report is received, work to finalize the bill will be prioritized for adoption by the end of the year. Plan for new state agency moves forward to provide dual shelters for victims of domestic violence – The Irish Times

Dais Johnston

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