Graphic Logo for COSC depicting a harp and text

The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

An Oifig Náisiúnta um Fhoréigean Baile, Gnéasach agus Inscnebhunaithe a Chosc

  1. I am living in an abusive relationship. What can I do?

I am living in an abusive relationship. What can I do?

Whether you are currently living with domestic violence, want to leave an abusive partner or are a survivor of domestic violence there are supports available to you, where you can talk through the options that will be right for you and any children you may have.

Things you could consider doing are:

• Make contact with a support service. You can access a list of these Services here on this website. You can also check your local phone book or community services directory for the refuge and counselling services closest to you.
• Talk to someone you trust: a friend, relative or neighbour. Remember you may need to go to them in an emergency or if you have to leave your family home
• You can make a Safety Plan
• You can talk to your GP
• You can report the abuse to your local Garda station.

The Womens Aid National helpline phone number is 1800 341 900. Open 7 days a week, 24 hours.  It offers confidential information, advice, support and understanding to women who are being physically, sexually or mentally abused in their own homes. The Helpline also acts as a referral to refuges, counselling services, solicitors, legal aid and other agencies, both statutory and voluntary, which are helpful to women experiencing abuse within a relationship

If you have experienced sexual violence you can contact the Rape Crisis Centre's 24 hour helpline: 1800 778888 (operated by Dublin Rape Crisis Centre).

Domestic Violence Court Orders


You can apply to the courts for a Safety or a Barring Order. A Safety Order bans your partner from using violent or threatening behaviour towards you, but allows your partner to continue living at home. A Barring Order bans your partner from using violent or threatening behaviour towards you and orders your partner to leave the home.

While you wait for a Safety or Barring Order to be granted you can get a Protection Order from the courts. This is a temporary safety order which bans a person from using violent or threatening behaviour towards you. In exceptional circumstances a judge can grant an Interim Barring Order, without your abuser being present, where they believe you are at immediate risk. If your abuser breaches a Protection, Safety or Barring Order it is an offence and you should call your local Garda Station.

To get an order go to your local District Court. You do not need a solicitor to make an initial application, but the courts highly recommend you have legal representation for full hearings. Contact your local District Court to find out what day family law cases are heard.

If you would like someone to come with you, contact Womens Aid (1800 341 900) or your local refuge.
For more information contact a family law solicitor or The Legal Aid Board on 1890 615 200 (Monday to Friday; 10am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 4pm)

If you are thinking of leaving your partner then try to:

• Leave when they’re not around, and if you have children take all of them with you.
•  Remember to take important personal documents concerning you and your children such as your passports, driving licence, marriage and birth certificates, PPS numbers, medical cards, address book, bank books, cheque books, credit cards, court orders and any other legal and financial documents.
• Pack enough clothes to last you several days.
• Pack any medicine you or your children might need.
• Pack some of your children’s favourite toys/possessions.
• Bring any personal possessions of sentimental value with you.


If you are thinking about leaving your partner contact Women's Aid (1800 341 900) or your Local Refuge for advice on how to do so safely. Men experiencing domestic violence can contact  Amen (046 902 3718) or you can contact the Male Advice Line on 1800 816 588. They are open from 10am to 6pm Monday and Wednesday, 12pm -8pm, Tuesday and Thursday and 2pm to 6pm on a Friday. 

Details of these and other Local & National Services are available on this site.

Information for men who are experiencing domestic violence  and older people experiencing abuse in the home can also be found on this website.

The information on this website gives practical suggestions about how to keep you and your family safe. It is not professional legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you are considering leaving your home or your partner, you should discuss the legal implications of this decision with a solicitor.

If you are not a legal guardian of the children, you should not take them with you without first taking legal advice. Even if you are their legal guardian, you should not take children out of the Republic of Ireland unless either you have a court order allowing you to do so or you have the consent of any other legal guardian of the children. Again, legal advice is essential.