Under The Domestic Violence Act 1996 the following Orders may be obtained:
- Safety Order
- Barring Order
- Protection Order
If any of these Orders are breached by either party the Gardai have immediate powers of arrest.
This Order prevents a party from committing further violence or threatening violence against another party. The party against whom the Safety Order is granted is not required to leave the family home.
Who can apply for one?
- The Spouse of the Respondent irrespective of how long they have lived together.
- An unmarried partner who has lived as husband/wife with the Respondent for at least 6 months out of the previous 12 months before the Application for the Safety Order was made.
- A parent can apply for an Order against a child who is not a dependant.
- A person of full age (over 18) who lives with the Respondent in a relationship, the basis of which is primarily non contractual for example not a lodger or a tenant.
- Relatives who live together.
- The Health Service Executive.
If the relationship is not based on marriage the Court considers the following factors:
- The length of time the people have lived together.
- Type of duties carried out by either person for the other.
- If any payment was made by one person to the other for living expenses.
Grounds for a Safety Order
- Safety Orders will be granted where the Courts consider there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person’s safety or welfare is at risk.
- The Court can order a party: a) Not to use or threaten to use violence or put in fear the Applicant or any dependent b) To stay away from the residence of the Applicant if the parties do not live at the same address
The Order does not require the Respondent to leave the home if the parties reside at the same address.
Duration of a Safety Order
An Order made by a District Court can last up to five years – before this Order expires an Application can be made to have it extended for a further five years or for a shorter period.
The Circuit Court can grant a Safety Order of unlimited duration.
Non compliance with a Safety Order
Under Domestic Violence Act it is an offence to breach a Safety, Protection, Barring or Interim Barring Order. The penalty is a fine and/or a prison term of 12 months. Gardai can arrest a Respondent without a Warrant or enter and search any place they suspect that person to be.
This Order requires the violent person to leave the family home when the Order expires or is set aside. The District Court may grant a Barring Order for up to three years and an Application for an extension can be made. There is no time limit on such an Order if it is made by the Circuit Court.
Who may apply for a Barring Order?
- A Spouse on his/her own behalf or on behalf of the dependent child.
- A Partner who has lived with the alleged offender as husband and wife for at least 6 out of the previous 9 months.
- A parent of an adult child can apply for an Order against him/her unless that child owns the family home.
- The Health Service Executive.
While you are awaiting for the Court to decide on an Application for a Safety or Barring Order the Court can give you an immediate Order called a Protection Order. This has the same effect as the Safety Order but as it is only intended to last until the Court decides on your case, it is temporary in nature.
Interim Barring Order
In exceptional cases this Order will be granted, there must be evidence of immediate risk of significant harm to the persons applying and a Protection Order must also be considered insufficient in the circumstances. This Order can be granted without the knowledge of the other’s party. That person however has to be served immediately with a copy of the Statement upon which the Order was made. A full Court Hearing has to take place within eight working days of the Interim Barring Order being made. Applicants can represent themselves through the process. Legal Aid can be available. You may be eligible for Legal Aid if you are a person of moderate means. To qualify for Legal Aid, you have to be assessed. The Legal Aid Board has offices located around the country. For the location of your nearest Legal Aid Board Office call 1890 615200.