Domestic violence refers to the use of physical or emotional force or threat of physical force, including sexual violence. As well as physical violence it can also involve emotional abuse, the destruction of property, isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support, threats to others including children, stalking, and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone.
Domestic violence legislation protects spouses/civil partners and children and offers legal remedies to dependent persons, and persons in other domestic relationships where their safety or welfare is at risk. It also gives An Garda Síochána powers to arrest without warrant where there is a breach of a court order.
The Court can make the following orders.
Safety order: A safety order prohibits the person against whom the order is made (the respondent) from engaging in violence or threats of violence. It does not oblige that person to leave the family home. If the person does not normally live in the family home, it prohibits them from watching or being in the vicinity of where the person applying for the order (the applicant) and dependent children lives. A safety order can be made for up to five years.
Barring order: A barring order requires the respondent to leave the family home and stay away from the family home of the applicant and/or dependent children. It may also include terms prohibiting the respondent from using or threatening to use violence. A barring order can be made for up to three years.
Once a summons or Domestic Violence Civil Bill has been issued for a safety order or a barring order the applicant can apply for a protection order or an interim barring order while waiting for the application to be heard in court.
Protection order: This is a temporary safety order. It gives protection to the applicant until the court decides on a safety or barring order application. It is intended to last until the case is heard and a decision made. It does not oblige the respondent to leave the family home.
Interim barring order: This is a temporary barring order. It is intended to last until the barring order application is heard in court and a decision made. Under the Domestic Violence Act, 2002 a full court hearing must take place within eight working days of the granting of an interim barring order. The Court must be of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing there is an immediate risk of significant harm to the applicant or any dependent person if the order is not made immediately and the granting of a protection order would not be sufficient to protect the applicant or any dependent person.
Who can apply for these orders
Spouses and former spouses;
Spouses and former spouses can apply for orders against each other because of violence towards themselves or towards their children;
Civil partners and former civil partners;
Civil partners and former civil partners can apply for orders against each other because of violence towards themselves or towards their children;
Parents of children in common;
Others living together - You can apply for protection against violence by someone over 18 who you are living with if the court decides that your relationship is not primarily based on a contract; For example, two relatives living together could be covered;
Children may apply for orders but an adult or health board must make the application on their behalf;
The HSE may apply on behalf of a person or that person's dependent children;