A public awareness campaign has been launched, involving TV and radio advertisements as well as social and other media, to carry a message to victims of domestic abuse that services are still available despite COVID-19.
The campaign will similarly alert perpetrators to the fact that domestic abuse will continue to receive the highest priority from the civil and criminal justice system throughout this crisis.
This public awareness campaign is being conducted in partnership by State services and community and voluntary organizations in the sector. Further information on the organizations involved in this initiative as well as services and supports for victims is available on a new website www.stillhere.ie.
In the context of the current COVID-19 restrictions, the Department of Justice and Equality, in partnership with other criminal justice bodies, have developed an inter-agency plan to address domestic abuse during this period.
The Department is also leading a public awareness campaign on domestic abuse during the COVID-19 crisis, in partnership with victim support services in the community and voluntary sector.
Additional funding to organizations in the sector such as frontline services, refuges and Rape Crisis Centers, has been made available to support and extend the existing services they offer primarily in support for victims of crime in relation to their interaction with the criminal justice system.
An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force, have established ‘Operation Faoisimh’, a proactive initiative designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected throughout this period, where this abuse will continue to receive the highest priority response and where Gardaí are making calls to victims who have reported domestic abuse in the past.
The Irish Legal Aid Board is giving priority to domestic violence and childcare cases, with every centre maintaining a phone line or email address for victims seeking supports and a Helpline has also been set up to ensure that persons experiencing domestic violence issues get prompt legal advice and legal representation in court where needed.
The Courts Service is giving priority to domestic violence and childcare cases, with every District continuing to have a Court open to hear applications for protection orders, interim barring orders and emergency barring orders.
Tusla, the Child and family Agency, has put a range of practical supports in place including in relation to funding, identification of additional accommodation capacity, and provision of additional ICT resources.