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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is physical, sexual, emotional or psychological violence which threatens the safety or welfare of family members, and certain people in other domestic relationships.

Domestic violence is a crime.

Report the matter to the Gardaí. Physical and/or sexual violence is a crime.  The Gardaí have the power to arrest and charge a person who is violent.

Apply to court for orders under the domestic violence legislation. A court may grant protection, barring and/or safety orders against a spouse or partner including where people are not living together.  These orders are made where it is necessary to protect the welfare or safety of the other spouse/partner and/or dependent children.

Who can apply

  • Spouses and former spouses;
  • Civil partners and former civil partners;
  • Cohabitees (in an intimate relationship)
  • Parents of adult children who wish to seek orders against those children;
  • Persons living together in a relationship the basis of which is not primarily contractual;
  • Persons living together in a relationship who are not living together and
  • A parent of a child against the other parent.

A parent (or in certain circumstance Tusla) can apply for an order on behalf of a child.

A court will not grant a barring order against a child or cohabitee who;

  • (if a child) is dependent;
  • owns the place of residence; or
  • who has greater ownership rights than the parent seeking protection.

What type of protection is available under domestic violence legislation?

There are five main kinds of protection available from the courts;

  • Safety Order - a safety order prohibits a person from using or threatening violence towards the person who has been granted the order and/or any dependent children. A safety order does not require a person to leave the home of residence. For people who are not married it is not necessary to be living with the person or to have lived with them in the past to apply for a safety order. It lasts for up to five years.
  • Protection Order - a protection order is a temporary safety order which can be granted by a court when a person applies for a safety order and/barring order. A protection order only lasts until the full court hearing of the application for a safety order and/or barring order. It is not necessary to be living with the person or have lived with them in the past to apply for a protection order.
  • Barring Order - a barring order require a person, against whom the order is made, to leave and stay away from the home( place of residence) of the person applying for the order and/or dependent children.  It last up to three years.
  • An Interim Barring Order - an interim barring order  is a temporary barring order.  It is only made in exceptional circumstances as it is granted without notice to the person against whom it is made.  Where the court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that there is an immediate risk of significant harm to the applicant or any dependent person it may grant an interim order.  An interim order made without notice to the person against whom it is made can last for no more than eight days.  Further orders may be made until the full hearing of the case.
  • An Emergency Barring Order - an emergency barring order is available in certain circumstances to people living together and parents of adult children who would not be ordinarily able to apply for a barring/interim barring order because they have lesser ownership rights in the place of residence than the person against whom the order is being sought. It can be granted without notice to the person against whom it is made and can last for no longer than eight days.

All orders include a prohibition on following or communicating (including by electronic means) with the applicant or the dependent person/child.

How long can an order last for?

The District Court can make;

  • A Safety Order for any period up to a maximum of five years; and
  • A Barring order for any period of up to three years

These orders can be renewed

The Circuit and High Court can make orders for unlimited periods.

What happened if a person dose not obey a court order?

A breach of any order made under the domestic violence legislation is a criminal offence. The Gardaí can arrest and charge a person who breaches such an order.

Do I need to pay a contribution towards legal aid in domestic violence cases?

No.  As long as you meet the disposable income and capital thresholds for legal aid, and the only application you are making to the court is for domestic violence remedy, you do not need to pay a contribution towards your legal aid.

Where can I get more information?

If your home isn't safe, support is still here - www.stillhere.ie

Legal Aid Board - www.legalaidboard.ie

Citizens Information Board - www.citizensinformation.ie

Department of Justice and Equality - www.justice.ie

NGOs operating in the sector

Women's Aid - www.womensaid.ie

Safe Ireland - www.safeireland.ie - National umbrella group - contains links to local support services

Men's Aid - www.mensaid.ie - 01 554 3811

Men's development network - 1800816588

The above is provided for information purposes only.  It does not purport to be either a statement of the law or legal advice.