Domestic Violence Services

What supports are available for women and children?

There are over 40 domestic violence services in Ireland. Of these 21 provide 24 hour emergency accommodation. All services are free and confidential*

Many SAFE Ireland members offer a range of Emotional, Practical, Safety and Child related supports to women and their children including:

  • Safe, emergency, 24 hour accommodation (Refuge)
  • Outreach
  • Information and Advocacy
  • Court accompaniment
  • Accompaniment to other state agencies such as community welfare, housing officers etc
  • Helplines
  • Childcare
  • A range of supports for children.
  • Supported transitional housing,
  • Support groups

All these services are free, confidential and available to all women.

You can contact the service closest to where you live or work or study, or you can contact any of the services in Ireland. All the domestic violence services are listed by their county location.

Responding to women and childrens individual needs

Domestic Violence Support Services have a wide range of skills and experience to respond to a range of women and children’s needs. These include

Safety Related Needs

  • Supporting women with ways to protect them and their children from their partner/ex partner
  • Safety Planning for women and their children
  • Support with managing contact with a partner/ex-partner

Child Related Needs

Information and support for women with:

  • Schooling for her children
  • Custody and access for her children
  • Child welfare and protection issues for her children
  • Getting emotional support for her children
  • Health care for her children
  • Play/recreation activities for her children
  • Understanding the impact of domestic violence on her children

Practical Needs

Information and Support with:

  • Legal Protection
  • Jobs and Work
  • Training and Education
  • Health Care
  • Benefits and Finances
  • Housing and Accommodation

Emotional Needs

Support with:

  • Understanding the impact of domestic violence on her
  • Healing emotionally from her experiences
  • Understanding the causes of domestic violence
  • Making decisions about her life

Different types of services provided by Domestic Violence Support Services

Refuge: A refuge is a safe place where women who are experiencing domestic violence can live safely while they decide what to do next. There is no time limit for how long you can stay in a refuge. If you have children, you can take them with you to the refuge. Refuges are generally open 24 hours a day. There are 21 refuges across Ireland and staff in a refuge are able to help and support you. Women usually go to a refuge when they are unable to be in their homes safely.

Helpline: A helpline is a phone number that you call to find out information to get help. Helplines are staffed by trained and experienced staff who can support you. Many SAFE Ireland members have lo-call or Freephone numbers some of which are available 24 hours a day. There is also a national freephone helpline which operates from 10am to 10pm every day except Christmas Day. Click here for Helplines

Telephone Support offers callers a confidential non‑judgmental listening service, where the caller can recognise if they are experiencing domestic abuse. They are provided with information on their options and the range of services available to them. A face to face meeting with a support worker may be necessary when dealing with issues, which are not practical to discuss on the phone. All contact with the woman is kept strictly confidential*.

One to One Support: A one to one support service where a woman can meet a trained and experienced worker in a safe and confidential setting. Support meetings are mainly by appointment and a worker will try to agree a time that suits you. At the meeting you can talk about your situation, get emotional support, get information and discuss options. The support worker will always be focused on your safety and well being. If you are not sure what you want to do, the worker will not put pressure on you to make a decision. You can take as much time as you need and can continue to meet with the worker until you no longer feel you need the support.

Court Accompaniment: This service is available to women who are pursuing legal options through the court system such as obtaining an order, breaches of orders and judicial or legal separations. It involves providing emotional support for a woman at a time when she may feel frightened and isolated.

Other Accompaniment: Sometimes, the main support a woman needs is to be accompanied when she has meetings with state agencies. The main purpose of accompaniment is support, clarification and advocacy if it is requested

Advocacy: Advocacy is direct representation on behalf of, and with women to other agencies. While the approach of the service is about empowering women to take control of their lives, it is also recognised that there are times when a woman feels unable to advocate on her own behalf. Support workers will contact relevant staff in other agencies on your behalf to explain the seriousness of your situation and ask them for the response you need to increase your safety and welfare and that of your children

Outreach: Many domestic violence services have an outreach service in place. If you have no access to transport, or for another reason you cannot access the services main office, they will arrange with you to meet with you at a safe place that you can access.

*All domestic violence services have policy’s in line with the Children First Guidelines where clients/callers are made aware of in the case of disclosure about abuse of a child