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Statutory Agency Dedicated To Tackling Domestic Abuse Passes Through Oireachtas.

A statutory agency under the remit of the Department of Justice and dedicated to tackling and reducing domestic; sexual; and gender-based violence (DSGBV) while supporting victims and survivors has passed through the Oireachtas.

The establishment of the DSGBV Agency, which is expected to be operational by January 2024, will deliver on commitments under Zero Tolerance, the Third National Strategy on DSGBV.

The Bill was passed by the Seanad today, having been approved by Government for publication last September and passed through the Dáil earlier in November. The next step is for the Bill to be signed into law by the President.

The working name for the Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Agency is expected to be called Cuan, (meaning ‘harbour’ or ‘haven’). The name is regarded as user-friendly, memorable and, above all, most suited to the functions and objectives of the new Agency.
The new agency will work collaboratively with the NGO and DSGBV services sector to ensure that the best possible services are in place to meet the needs of victims and survivors.

The Agency will be tasked with:

  • Coordinating and reporting on the delivery of Government strategies relating to DSGBV (including the current National Strategy).
  • Supporting and overseeing the delivery of safe and accessible refuge accommodation, and ensuring the delivery of excellent services to victims of DSGBV (including helpline and other supports).
  • Developing robust standards for funded DSGBV services in collaboration with the sector, and monitoring adherence to these standards by funded service providers.
  • Leading on awareness-raising campaigns designed to reduce the incidence of DSGBV in Irish society as well as ensuring that all victims know the full range of supports available and how to access them.
  • Liaising with the Minister for Justice and her Department to ensure that the work of the Agency aligns with overall Government DSGBV policy.
  • Leading on research to inform DSGBV policy development, working with others, such as the CSO, who have research and data projects underway.

A competition to appoint a CEO for the agency is currently underway, while a process to recruit members to the board of the new Agency went live on Stateboards.ie yesterday (22/11/23) and will be open for three weeks.
The statutory name of the Agency will be An Ghníomhaireacht um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe, Irish Translation “The Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Agency”.


Extra Funding Provided For Domestic, Sexual & Gender-based Violence Services Announced.

  • Extra support to meet critical service needs and emerging demands.
  • Some €7.9m in additional funding secured under Budget 2024.
  • Details of additional funding for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) services for 2024.

An amount of approximately €3.8m will be made available through a targeted call to established DSGBV organisations operating services and supports specifically focused on victims and survivors of DSGBV. The funding will be administered by the new DSGBV Agency, latter to be established in January 2024; supported by Tusla in the interim period.

This record level of funding will also support the implementation of Zero Tolerance, the Third National Strategy on DSGBV.

DSGBV organisations currently funded through Tusla will be invited to submit requirements or proposals for additional funding in a number of areas including:

  • €2.5m available to domestic violence services to address acute sustainability and service demand pressures, and to support organisations to ensure greater coverage in rural areas and for children’s support services.
  • €1.3m available for sexual violence services to meet the needs of younger people and to address geographical gaps in provision.

Approximately €2.5m for safe accommodation will be focused on the priority sites, identified under the Third National Strategy, with a significant portion allocated to the staffing of new safe houses for women and children experiencing domestic violence and abuse where they can live safely while they decide what to do next.

To aid in offsetting cost pressures, sustainability funding has increased by 9% since 2022.
Tusla will contact the relevant organisations directly with details of how to apply for funding.

In total, Tusla has been allocated €46m for funding DSGBV services in 2024. Separate to the funding of DSGBV services, the Department of Justice has allocated €6.8m for measures to tackle DSGBV, including awareness raising campaigns and funding for perpetrator programmes.

The Department of Justice has allocated a further €7.5m for providing funding to promote and assist the development of specific support services for victims of crime within the criminal justice system, which includes victims of domestic and sexual crime.


Thurles Man Receives Fine & Suspended Sentence Following Cannabis Seizure.

A 26-year-old Thurles, Co. Tipperary man, named as Mr Dean Champion, formerly with an address at Wolfe Tone Place, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, has appeared in court having been first arrested on December 9th, 2021 last, following advertisements offering cannabis for sale.

At the time of his arrest Mr Champion was residing at an apartment on Washington St, in Cork city and had advertised cannabis using Snapchat, latter the social media messaging app that allows users to send messages that self-destruct after a few seconds.
The cannabis being offered by Mr Champion was being offered for sale in various weights.

Cork Garda Divisional Drugs Unit attended at his accommodation on Washington Street, armed with a warrant granting the right to search the home of Mr Campion. The accused was located, present outside the property, thus allowing Gardaí, to use his key to gain entry to the accommodation.

On entry, Garda officers recovered €43,000 worth of cannabis, together with €200 in cash. Mr Campion was immediately arrested at the scene and on being later interviewed; eventually pleaded guilty to charges made against him and cooperated with interviewing Gardaí.

In Court, presiding Judge Mr James McCourt stated that the quantity of over 2kg of cannabis, brought the seizure to well over the €13,000 value which allows for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. However, having considering the full factors in the case, Judge McCourt imposed a fine of €2,000 with a suspended 4-year sentence on condition that Mr Champion remains of good behaviour.


Nitazenes Detected In Heroin Samples In Overdose Cluster.

Yesterday, Friday, November 10th 2023, the HSE updated the status of its warning in relation to heroin overdose clusters in the Dublin Region.

It has been confirmed through analysis conducted by Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) that a trace amount of a Nitazene type substance has been identified in a brown powder, associated with a Dublin overdose. Ongoing analysis is being conducted on the sample to identify the exact composition of the substance.

The HSE advises that there is “Extra Risk” at this time and strongly recommend that people do not try new types of drugs or new batches being sold on the market.

It is accepted that the Dublin to Cork train service, which passes through Thurles, is used regularly by drug dealers to transport their illegal product into the Tipperary area and beyond.

Professor Eamon Keenan, HSE National Clinical Lead, Addiction Services, said: “We are urging extreme caution following a sharp rise in the number of overdoses related to a powder being sold as heroin in the Dublin region. Preliminary laboratory analysis has confirmed that recent overdoses may be caused by heroin mixed with nitazene, a potent and dangerous synthetic opioid.These pose a substantial risk of overdose, hospitalisation and death.”

A total of 40 drug related overdoses have been reported to the HSE in the last 36 hours. We are reminding people to be extra careful, and avoid using new drugs, new batches of drugs or buying from new sources. It is safer not to use drugs at all. Your well-being is important, remember to look after yourself and care for others.

Naloxone is available free from every Dublin Addiction Service. Naloxone temporarily reverses the effects of opiate-type drugs like heroin, keeping the person alive until emergency services arrive.

The HSE asks people who use drugs to follow harm reduction steps, which can help reduce the harm if they are using substances.

Be aware, be extra vigilant at this time, there is increased risk at present and a number of overdoses have occurred in Dublin City yesterday morning.
Avoid new batches of heroin, avoid buying from new suppliers and avoid trying new batches or new types of drugs. This brings unknown risks.
Access Naloxone, talk to your local service or doctor about accessing naloxone as soon as you can.
Avoid using alone and make a rescue plan, and let someone know you are using and where.
Test the dose, start low and go very slow, there is an increased risk of overdose at this time. Avoid using other drugs, including methadone, benzodiazepines or alcohol.
Get medical help immediately, look out for the signs of overdose and don’t be afraid to get medical help if someone is unwell. Stay with the person until help comes.

Due to this concerning rise in opioid overdoses in the Dublin area and the risks posed by nitazene type substances, the HSE is continuing to collaborate with various partners, including Hospital Emergency Departments, Dublin Fire Brigade, non-governmental organisation (NGO) service providers, An Garda Síochána, and laboratories at the National Drug Treatment Centre and Forensic Science Ireland to monitor the situation closely. Laboratory tests are underway to identify the substances involved.


Forensic Science Ireland Annual Report 2022 Published Today.

  • Over 23,500 forensic investigations processed by FSI in 2022, including nearly 12,000 drugs cases.
  • Assisted in the identification of 12 Missing Persons.
  • The National DNA Database assisted with almost 800 investigations in 2022 and over 6,000 investigations since commencement of the DNA Database.

The Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) Annual Report for 2022 was published today.

The 2022 annual report marks an important year for FSI. Despite an increase in the volume and complexity of submissions to FSI, the agency is understood to be performing well, and has met and exceeded the majority of its targets for 2022, including issuing 23,542 forensic reports.

FSI engaged with other criminal justice agencies last year. FSI and An Garda Síochána collaborated to develop and launch “KopShop”, a mobile app that gives guidance on best practices in gathering evidence from crime scenes. FSI also actively contributed to several training programmes with AGS and the Road Safety Authority.

The agency’s work also extended beyond Ireland in 2022, and FSI undertook significant international engagement in same year.

FSI’s DNA Database System now contains over 73,000 individual DNA profiles. This compares to just 25 profiles in 2015. This growth has allowed the DNA Database to become an important tool in investigating crimes and identifying perpetrators.

In line with legislative requirements, 12,159 DNA samples taken from individuals for the purposes of generating a DNA profile were taken down in 2022, while 6,406 profiles were removed from the National DNA Database in 2022. This is an indication that FSI is adhering to the important safeguards in place to protect the integrity of the DNA Database and the persons whose DNA data is recorded on it.