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Minister confirms dozens of violent incidents reported in asylum system accommodation

The Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth, Roderick O’Gorman, has confirmed that they have been dozens of incidents relating to sexual violence, domestic violence, gender-based violence and harassment within the states International Protection Accommodation Services (asylum system).  

A total of 67 incidents have been reported to IPAS since 2015. The vast majority (29) of these violent incidents occurred this year. These involved 14 incidents of domestic violence, 13 incidents of harassment, 1 incident of sexual violence and 1 incident of gender-based violence.

Minister O’Gorman released the information to Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan following a Parliamentary Question she submitted to his department on the matter.

Minister O’Gorman said that The International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) has a sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) policy in place since 2014 and that IPAS also provide any assistance needed to An Garda Síochána if requested.

The SGBV policy also requires the collating of these type of incidents.

It was also noted by the Minister that residents of any IPAS accommodation centre are free to make reports to another statutory body without notifying IPAS.

Because of this, the number of reports received by IPAS may vary from the number of incidents reported to the relevant investigating bodies, e.g. An Garda Síochána, TUSLA.

Deputy Nolan had raised the matter with the Minister following reports made to her office that a single mother, who was resident with her child in an IPAS accommodation unit was being sexually harassed by a number of the male residents.

Minister O’Gorman noted in his reply that while the accommodation referred to by Deputy Nolan was previously used to provide accommodation to families and single people, it currently has no female residents and is a male only accommodation location.

In view of the seriousness of the matters raised by the Deputy Nolan, the Minister indicated that his officials will bring this issue to the attention of the An Garda Síochána.

Commenting on the Minister’s reply, the Independent Deputy said “my overwhelming concern here is to ensure that everyone resident in the state, in whatever capacity, is free from the threat of sexual violence or harassment. I welcome the Minister’s commitment to have the matter I raised with him addressed as a matter of urgency.”

 

 

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