Family Law – Domestic Violence
Domestic violence refers to the use of physical or emotional force or the threat of physical force, including sexual violence, in close adult relationships. As well as physical violence it can also involve emotional abuse, the destruction of property, threats to others including children, stalking.
Under the Domestic Violence Act 1996 Gardaí have the power to arrest and prosecute a violent family member. Under the law there are two main kinds of protection available, a safety order and a barring order.
A safety order is an order of the court which prohibits the violent person from further violence or threats of violence. It does not oblige the person to leave the family home. If the person is not living with you it prohibits them from watching or besetting your home. A safety order can last up to 5 years.
A barring order is an order which requires the violent person to leave the family home. The order also prohibits the person from further violence or threats of violence, and from watching or besetting your home. A barring order can last up to 3 years.
To obtain a barring order or a safety 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 called a protection order. The protection order has the same effect as a safety order. In exceptional circumstances the court can grant an interim barring order. This is an immediate order, requiring the violent person to leave the family home.
The safety order or the barring order can be renewed by applying for a further order before the previous one has expired.
The court will grant an order where it believes that your safety or welfare, or the safety or welfare of a dependant, requires that an order is granted. Under the legislation, welfare includes both physical and psychological welfare.
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