Domestic Violence Act 2018
Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone and it includes physical, emotional, sexual, financial and psychological abuse.
Domestic violence can happen against women, men and children.
The Domestic Violence Act 2018 commenced on the 1st January 2019 and brought significant changes to Ireland’s law on domestic abuse; ; including the introduction of the offence of coercive control, express consideration of the victim’s psychological and emotional welfare and extension of the eligibility for Safety and Protection Orders to all partners in an intimate relationship.
There are Orders available from the Courts to protect people from Domestic Violence and I will outline some of them below.
Safety and Protection Orders
A safety order is an order of the court which prohibits the violent person (the respondent) from committing further violence or threats of violence but does not exclude the respondent from a residence. If the person is not living with you, the safety order prohibits them from watching or being near your home and following or communicating (including electronically) with you or a dependent person. A Safety Order lasts up to 5 years.
The Act facilitated the making of temporary (interim) Orders by way of Protection Order during the period between the initial application for an Order and the final determination of the matter and has the same effect as the Safety Order. A Protection Order ceases when the Court decides on an application for a Safety Order or a Barring Order.
The most important change is that now all partners in an intimate relationship are eligible for Safety and Protection Orders, with no need of cohabitation.
The following are eligible for Safety Orders and Protection Orders and include former partners also;
- Spouses and civil partners;
- Parents with a child in common;
- Partners in an intimate relationship (including cohabitants and dating partners);
- Parents of an abusive child, when the abuser is non-dependent i.e. an adult;
- People residing with the respondent in an non contractual relationship;
A barring order requires the violent person to leave the home and prohibits the person from entering the home. The order also prohibits the person from further violence or threats of violence, watching or being near your home, or following or communicating (including electronically) with you or a dependent person. A barring order can last up to 3 years.
A temporary (interim) Barring Order can be granted, during the period between the initial application for an Order and the final determination of the matter and the Interim Order had the same effect as a Barring Order. An Interim Barring Order lasts up to 8 working days
The following applicants are eligible for Barring Orders and Interim Barring Orders and include former partners:
- Spouses and Civil Partners
- Cohabitants who live in an intimate relationship
NO minimum period of cohabitation required.
NO need for the relationship to be “committed”.
- Parents when the abuser is a non-dependent child (i.e. if the abusive son/daughter is an adult).
It must be noted that the “property test” still applies; which means that an applicant who is neither a spouse nor a civil partner must have an equal or greater interest in the property than the violent person (respondent) to obtain the relief.
Emergency Barring Order
An Emergency Barring Order, pursuant to Section 9 of the 2018 Act is a new relief that gives time-limited protection where there is an immediate risk of significant harm to cohabitants who do NOT satisfy the property test. It lasts a maximum of 8 working days and a further Emergency Barring Order, between the same parties, cannot be applied for until one month after the expiration of the previous Order, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Special sitting of the District Court
Section 24 of the Act provides, , that a member of An Garda Síochána, not below the rank of Sergeant, may request the Courts Service to arrange a special sitting of the District Court for the purposes of an out of hours application for an Interim Barring Order, Protection Order or Emergency Barring Order. It is not limited to cases where a Garda attends an incident, it includes cases where a victim of domestic abuse walks into a Garda station and seeks assistance.
How to Apply
To obtain a Safety or Barring Order you must attend a District Court hearing. While you are waiting for the court to hear your application, the court can give you an immediate order.
A Safety Order or Barring Order can be renewed by applying for a further order before the previous one expires.
It is an offence to breach the Order
It is an offence to breach the Order under Section 33 of the Domestic Violence Act 2018. A breach is punishable by a class B fine, a prison term of 12 months, or both.
Section 35 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2018 empowers members of the Garda Síochána to make an arrest upon a breach of an Order.
Should you require any further information or assistance in making an application, please contact Lorna Mc Ardle, Solicitor, on 01 2960666 to make an appointment.