At last week's launch, Women’s Aid also revealed that we are currently coming to terms with an unexpected and significant 20% cut to our statutory funding from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, at a time when we were planning to extend the National Freephone Helpline to a 24/7/365 service from January 2016 in line with recommendations the EU Victims Directive and the Istanbul Convention.We insist that this unjustified cut is reversed and full funding is restored.
Since 2008 we have endured cut after cut leading to a €221K/27% decrease in Tusla funding and we thought the worst of the recession had passed. This year we had started work to extend our National Freephone Helpline to a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week service from January 2016 in line with recommendations in the EU Victims Directive and the Istanbul Convention. This most recent and most severe cut feels like a new recession for our organisation and we are still trying to come to terms with the impact on our work.
We are aware that Tusla faces huge challenges as a new agency spearheading a major change process to ensure effective and efficient child protection. We understand that the agency is committed to living within its means. However, as the longest standing specialist domestic violence service in the country, we want to ensure that the expertise that we have built up over four decades in training, awareness, policy and support services is not weakened or damaged irretrievably in this process but will lead to better outcomes for anyone affected by domestic violence, child or adult. These new cuts must be reversed immediately to allow us to continue our vital work.
Despite highlighting the recently announced funding cuts, Women’s Aid wishes to re-assure women who need our services that our National Freephone Helpline and One to One Services remain open and ready to take your call.
Whatever 2015 and beyond brings, the staff, volunteers and Board of Women’s Aid is committed to being there for every woman who needs us, when she needs us.