Domestic Violence in the District Court – Empirical Study by Dr Roisin O’Sea & Dr Sinead Conneely

Dr Roisin O’Shea, Partner Arc Mediation and Dr Sinead Conneely, Law Lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology have released findings from their research in the District Court, published in the current issue of the Irish Journal of Family law.

Citation: ‘Domestic Violence in the District Court’, Irish Journal of Family Law (2019) 22(4) pgs 79-86.

Drs O’Shea and Conneely have been observing family law cases in the District Court with Ministerial consent, in order to understand what kinds of cases are coming before the courts and to identify whether mediation had been considered or tried as an alternative to litigation.

Data analysis for the research is carried out by Shane Dempsey, BSc, MSc and Partner in Arc Mediation.

There were a total of 499 cases on the District Court family law lists on the 17 days attended by the researchers in 5 geographic locations, Dublin, Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford and Wexford.
Of those, 360 went to hearings which were observed by the researchers.
Of the 360 cases that went to hearing, 90 cases were applications under the Domestic Violence Acts
Of the 90 cases, 15% were parent v adult applications – from a statistical perspective the Parent v Adult Child DV cases occurred in 4 of the 5 geographic locations. This suggests that this is a widely occurring phenomenon.

The % breakdown of the 90 domestic violence cases looked like:

Of the other 270 cases observed, Domestic Violence allegations or Domestic Violence previous/existing orders were referenced in testimony in 39 cases that were Access applications.

You can hear Dr Sinead Conneely speaking about the article, and in particular the Parent v Adult Child relationship, when she was interviewed by Sean O’Rourke on RTE 1 (22nd October 2019)

Drs O’ Shea and Conneely are currently working on papers on Access in the District Court and Child Maintenance in the District Court, which will be published early in 2020.