In addition to the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 and our Support Services there are a number of organisations and professsionals who may be able to support you. These include:
A refuge is a safe space for women and children. The majority of refuges offer a range of services such as crisis accommodation, confidential helplines, court accompaniment, support and information for women who have experienced violence. Refuges are run independently from Womens Aid. All refuges have different policies and procedures and levels of security and staffing. While we can ring a refuge on behalf of a woman in a case where she has no phone credit, the refuge staff will always need to speak with the woman herself before offering her a space.
For a list of refuges and local domestic violence support services, click here.
Rape Crisis Centres provide support and information to victims of sexual violence. Helplines offer information, advice and telephone counselling to victims. Many Rape Crisis Centres also provide individual and group therapy for victims of rape, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse and if requested, an accompaniment service to victims through the medical and legal process. Rape Crisis Centres work with both women and men.
Citizen Information Centres provide a free, confidential and impartial information service to the public on their rights and entitlements (e.g. social welfare, rent allowance etc.). They are registered with and supported by the National Social Services Board. They also have direct contact with FLAC (the Free Legal Advice Centre) through each of their branches.
Telephone: 1890 777 121 (lo-call) Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
The main objective of the community welfare service is the provision of an income maintenance package to persons who have either no income or an insufficient income to meet basic requirements. Some advice is given to clients in relation to household budgeting. It is through the community welfare service that the Community Welfare Officers (CWO) can be contacted. The CWOs usually sit in the local health centres in the mornings. The CWO can give supplementary welfare payments while the woman is waiting for social welfare to come through. They also provide rent allowance, where applicable. It is the CWO who makes the decision about a lot of payments; it is therefore advisable for applicants to bring copies of bills and also copies of maintenance orders (in the case where they have not been paid etc.).
There are a number of organisations that can be helpful if housing is a concern:
Or you can speak to your local housing welfare officer from your local authority. Click here for contacts details for all local authorities around Ireland.
If you are homeless, you will need to register with your local authority for housing.
The District Court is a court of local and limited jurisdiction. It deals mainly with proceedings in relation to protection orders, safety orders and barring orders under the Domestic Violence Act 1996. Other matters dealt with in the District Court in relation to family law are as follows; maintenance, guardianship, custody, access, the disposal of household chattels, passport applications, property and declaration of parentage.
Some District Courts combine Criminal and Family Law and, it is important for anyone wishing to make an application for an order to phone the court in advance to enquire about when Family Law is heard and what arrangements there are for making emergency applications.
Under the civil legal aid scheme the services of solicitors and barristers are made available to persons of modest means at minimal cost. Eligibility for legal aid is means tested - based on the disposable income and disposable capital available to the applicant. A contribution towards cost of legal services is paid. The cost will depend on the result of the court settlement. The Legal Aid Board prioritises cases of domestic violence. A Private Practitioner Scheme is available, whereby private solicitors can be accessed through Legal Aid at short notice for emergency orders such as safety and barring orders. There is a nominal fee to be represented by a solicitor in the district court.
There are a number of services available for older people, including those affect by Elder Abuse. This includes:
A number of agencies operate which offer support advice and advocacy for foreign nationals (including economic migrants, asylum seekers and refugees) living in Ireland including on issues such as residency rights, family reunification and access to employment. These include:
M.A.B.S. offers a free, confidential, independent support service in the form of financial advice and guidance. Its main function is to help people who are in debt or are at risk of getting into debt. There are over 60 offices nationwide. The M.A.B.S. service does not lend money. They can however contact agencies such as ESB, credit union to negotiate new debt repayment agreements on behalf of individuals.
There are a number of lone parent family groups located nationwide. The main focus of these groups is offering support to one parent families. This is done through support, information provision, advocacy and meetings with other single parents in order to gain support and share experiences. Some groups will also offer childcare facilities, training/education for lone parents and information on legal/housing/social welfare entitlements. One Parent Family Support Services include:
Social work services work with families, providing services to children and their families experiencing difficulties in their personal lives and relationships. Other social work services include adoption services, fostering services, community development services; residential care services, adult mental health services, disability services, hospital social work services and special project services such as aftercare services for children in the care system. A key part of any social worker's role is to prioritise child protection.
You can apply directly to your Local Health Office or hospital for assistance from a social worker.