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Question

580. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice if the audit of the way in which responsibility for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is segmented across different agencies will be completed by March 2021 as committed to in the Programme for Government; if she is overseeing the audit; and the resources allocated to the audit and the NGOs and service providers that will be consulted as part of the audit. [34683/20]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Programme for Government commitment, to conduct an audit of how responsibility for Domestic, Sexual and Gender based Violence (DSGBV) is segmented across different government agencies, will be undertaken by an external consultant with meaningful involvement from relevant NGOs and service providers, as well as input from Departments and agencies.
The terms of reference for the audit have been finalised, and very shortly the Department will commence a procurement process to engage an independent person to undertake the audit. It is intended that the audit will be completed within 3 months of commissioning.
Combatting domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is a priority for this Government and for me as Minister for Justice. Funding of just over €2 million euro has been allocated to my Department under budget 2021 to combat domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and a further allocation of €2.1 million has been allocated to support victims of crime, including victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. I have also secured an additional €2.3 million to implement the O’Malley recommendations to support vulnerable victims as set out in Supporting a Victims Journey - A plan to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases which I published last month.
The Deputy may also be aware that over the last decade work in this area has been conducted through successive DSGBV strategies. My Department coordinates the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021, which is a whole-of-Government approach to delivering on the many actions necessary to address these matters fully. The Strategy includes input from relevant community and voluntary groups as well as other stakeholders across the sector. This is achieved through a Monitoring Committee composed of stakeholders from all sectors working together in partnership; as well as ongoing cooperation between the Department and frontline services and industry partners. The Monitoring Committee and the NGOs represented on it are key partners for my Department in our work to tackle DSGBV and will be a primary focus of our consultations in the audit process.
Overall, the Strategy aims to considerably strengthen the law and structures in Ireland targeting domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and considerable progress has been made in addressing these issues through the Strategy.
Without prejudice to the outcome of the audit, a review of the outstanding actions has been conducted to inform the forthcoming 3rd National Strategy on DSGBV, to be developed and agreed by Government before the end of 2021.