Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - 08 February, 1996
Written Answers. - Women's Refuges.
Mr. M. McDowell Mr. M. McDowell
8. Mr. M. McDowell asked the Minister for Health if he has satisfied himself that adequate refuge places are available throughout the country for women fleeing from domestic violence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2737/96]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): I want to assure the House that I am committed to the development of appropriate services within the health area for victims of domestic violence. The discussion document,  Developing a Policy on Women's Health, identifies services for victims of domestic violence as one of the priorities for the further enhancement of services to protect women's health. This document is the basis for consultation with all those interested in improving the health and welfare of Irish women, including those involved in the provision of services to victims of domestic violence. This consultation process is under way at present.
I fully recognise the essential role of women's refuges as a key element in the range of support services required to address this problem. I am particularly conscious of the fact that while comprehensive information on the number of women who are unable to obtain accommodation in women's refuges is not available, there does appear to be a shortfall in the overall provision.
The Department of the Environment provides considerable financial assistance towards the development of women's refuges under the capital assistance scheme for voluntary organisations. In so far as my Department is concerned provision has been made for a sum of £450,000 in capital grants towards the development of women's refuge centres in Dublin, Kerry, Galway and Dundalk. Also, a grant of over £100,000 will be made available this year to the Eastern Health Board to meet the running costs of the new Bray Women's Refuge. In addition, increased financial support has been made available for counselling and telephone helpline services for victims of domestic violence.
It is my intention to make continued progress with the development of services for victims of domestic violence as resources permit.
I recognise, however, that the provision of emergency refuge accommodation and other family support services, while necessary, deals only with the symptoms of domestic violence and does not confront the issue of violence itself. This is a much more complex issue and one which no one Government Department or agency can tackle  in isolation. The nature of the problem calls for a wide ranging inter-agency and interdisciplinary approach.
Dáil Éireann 461 Written Answers. Women's Refuges.