The Government is to introduce new legislation making it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain barring orders.

The new domestic violence bill will also make it possible for a victim to be able to bring a friend, family member or support worker into court to support them during proceedings.

The victim will also be able to give evidence by video link to avoid the risk of intimidation by the perpetrator or an associate.

The bill also allows for the views of children to be heard.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said the proposed legislation will improve the protections available to victims of domestic violence particularly in crisis situations.

Today she published the heads of the bill, which she said is designed to protect and support victims of the crime.

The bill allows for greater access to barring orders in emergency situations with the person no longer required to have a greater or equal property interest in the property from which the perpetrator is being barred.

A court will be able to appoint an expert to ascertain the views of a child where an order is sought on behalf of, or partly relates to, the child.

It will be possible to bar a perpetrator from communicating with the victim electronically.

There will be restrictions on the categories of person allowed to be in court during these proceedings, so that the victim will not have to give evidence, potentially of a distressing nature, before a large number of strangers.

The Courts Service will be required to give information to the victim on referrals to support services.

The anonymity of the victim, dependants and of the perpetrator will be protected in criminal proceedings for breaches of orders, other than where the victim chooses not to be anonymous.

This provision is intended to protect the privacy of a victim.

However, the media will be able to report on these proceedings, providing that they respect the obligations concerning anonymity.

The minister said that domestic violence remains a big problem, with one in five women experiencing domestic violence.

Very often, she said, people still suffer in silence.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, she said that the Department of Justice will be increasing its budget for organisations supporting victims.

Earlier, she said the enactment of the bill will also represent a major step forward on the road to Ireland's ratification of the Council of Europe's convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention.

The minister said she intends to seek Government approval for Ireland to sign the Istanbul Convention in the autumn.