Court Accompaniment Service
The Women's Aid Court Accompaniment Service provides advocacy and support for women seeking to avail of legal options regarding violence by a current or former husband or partner.
It is provided by the Women's Aid One to One Support Service. Women's Aid Support Workers have expert knowledge and understanding of the family law system and of the legal options open to women living with domestic violence.
Who can avail of the Court Accompaniment Service?
You may avail of the service for any of the following legal reasons, which require a visit to court:
- Application for a protection, barring, safety, custody and/or maintenance order
- Family court hearing for barring, safety, custody, maintenance order
- Criminal court hearing for assault charges against a spouse/partner
- Family court hearing for judicial separation or divorce
Why would I use the Court Accompaniment Service?
Making applications for orders under domestic violence legislation can be stressful. You may already be feeling demoralised and humiliated by the abuse you have experienced. Sometimes, confronting a technical legal court system with an unfamilar language and procedure, can be intimidating.
This can be made worse by a number of factors. You may fear facing your abusive partner in a court of law. You may also be afraid of retaliation by him. You may find it difficult to seek support from family and friends to see them through the court process. Perhaps you haven't told them of the abuse.
Women's Aid can help you through this process.
How do I avail of the Court Accompaniment Service?
You make an appointment through the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900. If you wish to avail of the court accompaniment service you will first meet with the Women's Aid One to One Support Service. During this meeting, a support worker will:
- Explore your eligibility for the order you are seeking and the possible consquences of any action
- Support you to plan your safety
- Explain court procedures
- Assist you to ensure all relevant documentation required on the day is prepared
What happens during Court Accompaniment?
On the day of your court hearing, the Women's Aid Support Worker will:
- Provide emotional support, both before, during and after the court proceedings
- Support you as you face your abusive partner on the day
- Clarify legal terminology for you
- Help you to come to terms with the decision of the court
- Inform you of possible follow-up proceedings/options
- Identify safety measures with the you and your children following the court hearing.
- Provide post-hearing support
Unfortunately, the Women's Aid support worker is not able to be in the actual court room with you due to the private nature of family law proceedings. However, we will be with you in the court building.
How long will I use the service for?
The length of time you use the service for depends on your needs. Women's Aid Support Workers will work with you to maximise your safety. This may need one or two meetings. Or several more. We will provide you support as long as you need it.