Skip to main content

Innovative Domestic Abuse Programme at DkIT Undertaken by Front-line Professionals

20 January 2017

Front-line professionals from across health, midwifery, policing, social care and the community and voluntary sectors have completed Ireland’s first ever accredited programme aimed at tackling Domestic Abuse.

Class is now complete for the first intake of the new Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) Level 8 part-time programme ‘Certificate in Fundamentals of Understanding and Responding to Domestic Abuse’. Launched in last year, the 13 week accredited programme is the first of its kind to be offered in Ireland. It was designed to meet demand among front-line workers to receive formal training around dealing with domestic abuse. The new programme has received cross-sector support from front-line services including health, policing, social care, probation, community groups and women and children refuges.

Domestic abuse is an ever-present concern in Ireland and an estimated 300,000 people here have been severely abused by a partner at some point in their lives. In November last year, the Department of Justice and Equality launched the national, ‘What Would You Do?’ domestic violence campaign targeted at bystanders who witness abuse and guiding them how to act or to offer support. Research from the campaign shows that although 70% of people think domestic abuse in Ireland is a common problem and wishes to help, people were confused about what to do in reaction to incidences of domestic violence.

In discussions with key stakeholders, DkIT found that many front-line professionals held similar concerns around how to effectively respond to occurrences of suspected domestic abuse that they encounter throughout their work. While many receive on-the-job training, it was evident that there was a strong appetite for accredited training in his area.

Speaking today, Dr. Edel Healy, Head of School of Health and Science at DkIT said: “The ‘What Would You Do?’ campaign is a fantastic initiative because it raises awareness of the importance of recognising the key indicators of domestic abuse and informs how to take appropriate action. This is exactly what our programme aims to do for front-line workers by equipping them with the necessary training and skills to make educated and effective interventions.”

Intake from the DkIT’s most recent programme included representatives from Women’s Aid, Dundalk, Drogheda Women’s & Children Refuge Centre, the Department of Social Work, The HSE – nurses, midwives and Public Health Nurses, An Garda Síochána.


Also speaking today, Acting Head of the Section of Midwifery at DkIT and Academic Coordinator for the new programme, Dr. Kathleen Nallen, said “Multiple agencies have key roles to play in recognising, responding to and referring appropriately in relation to Domestic Abuse. Having members of these agencies in the same room allows for safe, open discussion and a deeper understanding of the unique role each plays for the overall benefit of victims of Domestic Abuse”.

Elizabeth Maguire is a recent participant of the Domestic Abuse’ programme and also is a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Care at DkIT. Upon completing the programme Ms. Maguire commented, “I have been involved with domestic abuse services for the past seven years in the capacity of re-training, volunteering and a front line staff member. The course contents are invaluable as they provide front line staff members with in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of domestic abuse and how to recognise and respond to a service user who is experiencing domestic abuse with the aim of reducing the risk of further harm or even death of the individual”.  

DkIT is now accepting applications to its January intake of the ‘Certificate in Fundamentals of Understanding and Responding to Domestic Abuse’ programme. The deadline for applications is the 23rd January, for more information please visit or contact Dr. Geraldine O’Connor ( 042 9370200 ext 2736/ Dr. Kathleen Nallen ( 042 9370264.