The manager of a Waterford based women’s refuge says the proposed scrappage of the legal aid fee for victims of domestic violence is to be welcomed.
The Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC) says the €130 fee is preventing many people in desperate situations from obtaining protection orders.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said while the fee aims to prevent vexatious cases from being taken, he is concerned about the effect it is having.
Claire Coughlan is the manager of Oasis House in Waterford City.
She says that the fee can be a barrier to women seeking protection.
FLAC highlighted the case of one woman, who was forced to represent herself in court, as she could not afford the contribution fee.
She was not granted a Barring Order and her husband was allowed back into the house, resulting in her having to find a place in a refuge.
Oasis House manager Claire Coughlan says she doesn’t think many women would be willing to stand up for themselves in court.
She says it can be very difficult for women to seek help if they’re suffering domestic abuse.