The pandemic has highlighted that home is not necessarily a safe place for everyone. The government will offer help centres for domestic abuse victims €3 million in funding from the prime minister’s reserve fund.
On Monday this information was disclosed by PM Eduard Heger alongside Finance Minister Igor Matovič (both OĽaNO).
The money, said Heger, is supposed to help women who need it the most. He also disclosed his belief that the prime minister’s reserve should be used for solving the real problems that people face. The prime ministerial reserve fund has been highly criticised in the past as a non-systemic and non-transparent solution. For example, after the previous prime minister Peter Pellegrini (now Hlas) granted hundreds of thousands of euros to various organisations in the past, the non-governmental Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) called for the fund to be scrapped altogether.
With the latest grant of €3 million, every organisation that is dedicated to and helps abused women and their children will be able to gain access to the money upon requesting via the proper channels, said head of the Department of Gender Equality of the Labour Ministry, Zuzana Brixová. The channels will be disclosed on the webpage of the Slovak Government's Office.
According to Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina), the pandemic has uncovered many unsolved problems from the past.
“One legislative shortcoming was the lack of a crisis state apparatus to help so-called safe homes,” he added.
Systematic solution to be introduced
This reserve will, says Brixová, be used as a financial injection, and only as a temporary solution until the Labour Ministry finds a systematic way to finance safe homes for women and organisations that help women suffering from domestic abuse.
She added that the ministry created a new team for the purpose of achieving this goal.
“The members of this group have collectively agreed with the representatives of the ministry that the current situation can only be solved by a new legal norm. The Ministry of Labour is preparing a new law on social services and is considering a radical increase in the amount of funds for public and private providers, so that safe homes for women and other helpful organisations don’t get into situations where they don’t know how they will pay out their employees next month,” she illustrated.
The contributions will amount to €370 per person a month, for the purpose of covering emergency housing costs. Outpatient services, which are offered by facilities for consulting services, will receive €10 per hour of consulting. This covers both legal and psychological consulting.
President welcomes the move
President Zuzana Čaputová appreciated the allocation of €3 million for the purpose of financing housing and consulting services for women and children who suffer from abuse.
“The president has pointed to the necessity for these services in the long run; especially during the pandemic, which had a particularly adverse impact on victims of domestic violence. She also welcomes the announcement of a systemic solution for the financing of these services,” she stated.