Domestic violence pilot scheme praised


A new pilot scheme to deal with domestic violence, which is based in the family law District Court in Dolphin House in  Dublin, supported 107 women over a six-month period in seeking court orders to protect them from violence.

The evaluation of the scheme was launched by the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, earlier today. The scheme is a partnership between Women’s Aid, Dublin 12 Domestic Violence Service, Inchicore Outreach Centre and the Courts Service.

The scheme offers a free and confidential drop-in service for women, and offers them emotional support, helps them prepare for court and refers them to other domestic violence services for ongoing support.

Launching the report, Mrs Justice Denham said the service was a fine example of the State and NGO sectors coming together to provide a better service for the people, which showed that at a time of pressure on resources, with some lateral thinking and goodwill, a better service can be delivered with very little additional expenditure.

Mr Shatter said: “The work being done at the Dolphin House Support and Referral Service is a shining example of cooperation and coordination in working to assist victims of domestic abuse.”

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid, said: “This service makes a real difference to women’s lives. We know that for 107 women the Dolphin House Support and Referral Service made their journey through the legal system easier.”

She gave the example of “Annie” a woman who made contact with the service when she was pregnant with her third child. Her husband was beating her and burning her with cigarettes, telling her she was worthless and a terrible mother.

Annie had tried over the years to get a protection order but each time she applied she didn’t go through with it because her husband threatened to kill her if she did. On one occasion he physically blocked her from leaving the house so she would miss her hearing.

Through the Dolphin House service she was able to apply for orders under the Domestic Violence Act and other orders, such as custody, access, maintenance, guardianship, production of infants and HSE care hearings.

“She and her children are now protected and are building a safer, happier life, free from her husband’s abuse and control. It is safe to say that without the help of the service, Annie and her children would still be living in an abusive home,” Ms Martin said.