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18/10/2021

Tusla respond to fears that Carlow Women's Aid could close after outreach worker dispute

Child and Family Agency 'avoiding the duplication of services'

Carlow Carlow Carlow

File Photo

Tusla has issued a statement after fears that Carlow Women's Aid could close following a dispute with the Child and Family Agency over an outreach worker for the county.

Anton Scheele, chairperson of Carlow Women's Aid, has said the decision to place an additional outreach worker at the Amber Refuge in Kilkenny "is another attempt by Tusla to downgrade Carlow's services and in turn leading to closure of Carlow Women's Aid". 

In a statement, Tusla have defended their decision to allocate the outreach worker in Kilkenny as it is "avoiding the duplication of services".

They said: ""Since 2018, Amber Women's Refuge has been undertaking outreach services in Carlow and so it was identified as the provider of choice for the additional outreach supports.

"The approach which is being supported by Tusla includes building links to local organisations providing services to children and families in order to establish and build effective support networks in the area.

"Tusla's aim is that all areas in Carlow will have the best possible access to Domestic Violence Outreach Services in their localities while avoiding the duplication of services."

The agency said: "In 2017/2018, Tusla undertook a needs analysis to identify gaps in services, local barriers to access and stakeholder priorities and solutions around responses.

"This work was undertaken as a collaborative process involving a range of local stakeholders and drew on local information.

"The need for greater access to support for women who had experienced domestic violence and the relative under-provision in Carlow, were identified as priorities.

"Tusla was allocated €1.5m additional dedicated funding...in 2019 and the development of services in Carlow was prioritised in this funding allocation.

"Based on the analysis it was decided that additional dedicated outreach supports should be delivered in Carlow area.

"These new services are being delivered in various locations in Carlow and the approach which is being supported by Tusla includes building links to local organisations providing services to children and families in order to establish and build effective support networks in the area.

"Tusla's aim is that all areas in Carlow will have the best possible access to Domestic Violence Outreach Services in their localities while avoiding the duplication of services."

Mr Scheele said: "Minister Katherine Zappone announced a Domestic Violence Outreach worker post over eight months ago in April 2019 for Carlow.

"Since then Carlow Women's Aid has been continuously trying to engage with Tusla about this post that they had petitioned the minister for.

"We have now become aware that on Tusla's direction Amber Kilkenny is advertising to fill this post with someone based in Kilkenny City, not in your Carlow based Domestic Violence service in Carlow who have been on the frontline in Carlow for many years helping the people of Carlow."

He added: "We believe that the women and children who are victims of Domestic Violence in Carlow deserve better. They deserve a service that, is accessible, based in Carlow.

"The taxpayer deserves better than suffering the costs of the logistical implications of the appointment.

"This latest development is another attempt by Tusla to downgrade Carlow's services and in turn leading to closure of Carlow Women's Aid.

"Sadly we are in a time with domestic violence on the rise, this should not correspond to a reduction in services and the closure of that vital support on your doorstep.

"Will you help us, fight to protect your Domestic Violence service that serves and helps over 400 women and their children each year and is based in Carlow?"

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