Domestic violence scheme came to aid of 107 women


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

The evaluation of the scheme, a partnership between Women’s Aid, the Dublin 12 Domestic Violence Service, Inchicore Outreach Centre and the Courts Service, was launched by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, yesterday. The scheme offers a free and confidential drop-in service for women while helping them prepare for court and referring them to other domestic violence services for support.

Launching the report, Mrs Justice Denham said the service was a fine example of the State and non-governmental organisation sectors joining to provide a better service, which showed that, at a time of pressure on resources and with some lateral thinking, a better service could be delivered with very little extra cost.

Mr Shatter said: “The work being done at the Dolphin House Support and Referral Service is a shining example of co-operation and co-ordination 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 pregnant with her third child. Her husband was beating her and burning her with cigarettes, telling her she was a terrible mother.

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

Through the 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.