Domestic Violence Legal Supports
Access to Court Remedies & Support Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the recent restrictions on movement and increase in people self-isolating and working from home, there may be an increased risk of domestic abuse and coercive control during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are in IMMEDIATE danger, please contact the Gardaí on 999 or 112.
If you need to leave your home in order to remain safe, this is allowed under the current restrictions. The 5km limit does not apply.
Rape Crisis Centres are open and supporting survivors through the COVID-19 crisis, find your local centre on the Rape Crisis Help website. All domestic violence specialist support services are open across Ireland. www.safeireland.ie is being regularly updated with details of available services. Visit their website for details of your local service. The Women’s Aid national freephone helpline is operating 24 hours a day on 1800 341 900. The freephone Male Advice Line number is 1800 816 588.
Access to Court Remedies
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The courts remain open for urgent family law issues and will prioritise domestic violence applications. There are NO restrictions on domestic violence applications, and you can attend court for domestic violence court orders.
Remedies available under the Domestic Violence Act 2018 include the following court orders:
- Barring Order
- Safety Order
- Protection Order
- Interim Barring Order
- Emergency Barring Order
New applications can be made for barring, safety and protection orders at this time. You can also apply for interim barring and emergency barring orders and return hearings of interim barring order cases will also be heard. If safety order hearings are being adjourned, interim protective orders will be extended to the new date.
In the event of the breach of an existing domestic violence court order please contact the Gardai on 999. If you need support, there is a domestic violence support service in every county. Click here for details.
While asking for help regarding domestic abuse situation can be difficult, the Court Service knows what to do. All you need to say is ‘I need to apply for a domestic violence order’. The staff are fully trained and can guide you through the process. For contact details for any district court in Ireland click here.
Applications under the domestic violence legislation are generally made in the District Court. If you need to submit new applications, then you can leave completed documents in the drop box at your local court office and your applications will be issued through the post. Legal aid may be available to those who cannot afford a private solicitor. If a solicitor is not involved, you will need to contact your local District Court office. While legal representation is not necessary for the initial application, it is highly recommended for the full court hearing.
The Courts Services provide an accessible and informative webpage on domestic violence, providing detailed information on the available court orders and the application process, including who can apply (such as spouses, civil partners and co-habiting couples) and how to apply. Information is also available on the process and the implementation and enforcement of the court order.
If you have an underlying health condition the court service has arranged for matters to be held remotely during this time.
If for other reasons, your hearing is held remotely, you will be notified of any arrangement where accessibility options will be discussed.
An application can be made for emergency protection via a protection order or an interim barring order. The application can be made without notifying the other party. Where a protection order or an interim barring order is granted, this remains in force until the full hearing of the barring/safety order application, further details here.
The Legal Aid Board continues to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic, with a dedicated webpage providing details of how they are currently operating. You can apply for legal aid, if you need assistance with the court application, legal advice or court representation. You might qualify for legal aid if you cannot afford a private solicitor. You can check whether you are likely to qualify here.
Applications can be made online or through your local law centre, details here. However, at present, given the Covid-19 restrictions, all law centres are closed to the public but can be contacted by phone and email. The Legal & Mediation Information Helpline information remains open on lo-call 1890 615 200 or 01 646 9600 and full details are available here.
See the courts website for the most up-date information on the court services. Specific information relating to domestic violence court orders and support services, is available.
The President of the District Court has confirmed that domestic violence applications will continue to be prioritised. Information on relevant support services was also provided. You can read the statement here.
Many support services continue to offer support to victims of domestic violence during the Covid-19 crisis, particularly through their telephone, email or online services.