Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has said she believes the Government should fund a new study on the extent of sexual violence in Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil last week that he had "an open mind" on the study, estimated to cost €1m.

But he said some people questioned whether the money should be spent on services.

A number of government departments have indicated they do not individually have the budget resources to provide the €1m cost.

Asked whether it was beyond the ability of a number of ministers and department to get together and pool funding, Minister Zappone said it was not beyond their ability and she hoped this could be done.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, she said: "First of all it needs to be very clear that the Government has not made a decision in relation to whether or not we will conduct or fund a report of a comparable nature to the SAVI [Report]. A decision has not been made.

"Secondly, our Tánaiste is on record as saying that from her perspective it is something that we should consider in principal. She did go to different government departments to look for a contribution for that."

Minister Zappone added: "Yes I think we do need to update that research. My department considered it and we concluded that yes we could make a modest contribution."

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre CEO Noeline Blackwell said the Government needed to fund a new report on sexual abuse and violence in Ireland in order to determine where resources should be allocated.

She said Ireland had changed dramatically since 2002 when the last report was carried out "before the internet, before changes in drug use, before the change in the economy and in online behaviour".

She said "the Taoiseach and his ministers are in a situation where decisions are being made about how to combat sexual violence in Ireland which are based on evidence which is so out of date that it might as well be from Dickens. They have not got full information," she said.

"Without that information we cannot identify properly with how we deal with one of the most pervasive sets of crimes in Ireland."