Domestic violence is where one person uses abuse to control and assert power over their partner in an intimate relationship.
It generally involves a pattern of coercive or threatening, behaviour to establish and maintain power and control over a partner.
In the vast majority of cases where violence is involved in Ireland, women are the victims of male partners. But victims can include married or unmarried men as well as women, people living together and same sex partners. They can also include parents who are abused by children, or children themselves.
The violence can take a variety of forms from physical abuse to sexual or psychological abuse, or the threat of such abuse. It can also manifest itself in physical control of a person’s movements, or financial control and the creation of dependency. Perpetrators often seek to isolate the victim from friends, family and others who could support them.
No one should tolerate Domestic Violence, but it can be difficult to break away from if you don’t have support or are unable to seek it.
You can report any incidents of domestic violence to the Gardaí by calling 999 or 112. If you are a victim of domestic violence, your most urgent need may be to protect yourself and any children you may have from physical assault. Traditionally, this is where the legal system is used most often in domestic violence cases.
The Court can make a variety of orders to prevent this type of abuse, including:
This may be the fastest way to secure a court order. Applying for a Protection Order is the first step in seeking either a Barring Order or a Safety Order, as both of these require a full court hearing. So, the Court may make a Protection Order, which temporarily offers you safety by prohibiting the perpetrator from:
The Court may place such exceptions or further conditions on the order as it sees fit. This may include orders for access to children with or without conditions. The Protection Order is usually granted without the perpetrator being present, and will last until the full hearing.
These prevent the perpetrator from being violent or threatening to the applicant and dependents and from watching or besetting your home. The Court may place such exceptions or further conditions on the Order as it sees fit. This Order may remain in place up to 5 years after its making and may be renewed. The granting of a Safety Order required a full court hearing.
A Barring Order requires a full court hearing. So in cases of extreme abuse, a judge can grant an Interim Barring Order until that full hearing takes place. An interim Barring Order will only be granted for a very short period, because of the seriousness of the Order. The full hearing will follow very quickly.
A Barring Order directs the respondent to leave and not enter the home and prohibits:
The Court may place such exceptions or further conditions on the Order as it sees fit. This Order may remain in place up to 3 years after its making and may be renewed.
Please note that the law has now changed to better recognise that domestic violence or abuse extends beyond the physical. The signing of the 2018 Domestic Violence Bill reflects this. So, coercive control – a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour – is recognised as a criminal offence in Ireland.
If you have children, and a Barring Order is granted, the Court may also impose conditions around access to the children. The court can also direct that access is supervised.
New legislation will be in place soon to allows courts prevent contact with the victim, by electronic means, including email, text and social media. This prohibition can be extended to the children.
Any person exposed to Domestic Violence should immediately contact the local Garda Station, Women’s Aid and/or their GP, and should obtain swift legal advice.
If you need advice or support on any of the issues raised above, please call Alan Finnerty on 01 637 6200. Or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardaí Domestic Abuse advice- click here.
Orpen Franks Solicitors LLP
28 & 30 Burlington Road, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 637 6200
Facsimile: +353 1 637 6262