Thomas Pringle TD has today urged the government to provide long-term funding to the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) to allow it to function securely into the future following the announcement that a contract has been agreed to secure its future to the end of 2014.

“While I welcome today’s announcement between the RCNI and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, this will have little impact on the overall funding crisis there and the closures of centres that we have been hearing about recently.

“This contract will ensure that the network will survive until the end of the year only, but what is needed is long-term funding to give security to the network and allow it to function sufficiently, something I raised in the Dáil earlier this year with Minister Fitzgerald.

“By the end of next year this State is required to comply with the EU Victims Directive to provide adequate support services for victims of sexual violence. When I asked Minister Fitzgerald about this, it seemed she was quite confident Ireland would be fully compliant by then, but with funding down and demand up for these services, I wouldn’t be as confident unless big changes are made.

“Ireland is now recognised at EU level as a unique and lead country in the capacity to collect, analyse and present data on Gender Based Violence, including sexual violence crimes against children. But this work is unsustainable without a dedicated annual funding intervention.

“Again, I do welcome that a contract has been agreed to see the RCNI to the end of the year, but long-term funding is what is ultimately needed for such a vital service and I am calling on the government to provide this,” stated Pringle.

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