Domestic Violence Court Orders

The person who seeks protection from the courts is called the Applicant; the person against whom the application is made is called the Respondent. In order to seek the protection of the court the Applicant issues proceedings against the Respondent by making an application to the District Court. This can be done through the services of a solicitor or by the applicant themselves, through the local District Court office.

One or more of the following orders can be sought from the courts:

A Safety Order is granted by the court and is an order prohibiting the Respondent from using violent or threatening behaviour towards the Applicant, but the Respondent is permitted to remain in the family home.

A Barring Order prohibits the Respondent from using violent or threatening behaviour towards the victim and requires the Respondent to leave the family home.

A Protection order is a temporary safety order which prohibits a person from using violent or threatening behaviour towards the victim. It can be granted by the court upon application for the barring order, but pending the hearing of the case.

An Interim Barring Order may be granted at the discretion of the court if at the time of the application for longer term protection, the court is of the view that there is an immediate risk to the safety of the applicant. It has the effect of removing the Respondent from the family home pending the full hearing of the application.

What happens when a Safety, Barring or Interim Order is breached?

When granted, a Safety Order, prohibits the person against whom the order is made from engaging in violence or threats of violence and other conduct of a similar nature. It does not require that person to leave a shared home, however if the parties do not normally live together it can prohibit him/her from watching or being in the vicinity of the victim’s home. A safety order can last for up to five years.

Barring Orders, require the abuser to leave the family home and stay away from the victim and/or any children. Barring Orders can also include terms prohibiting the use of violence or threatening the use of violence. It can last for up to three years and can be extended by the Court. The Circuit Court can make an unlimited order.

Interim Orders – Protection Orders and Interim Barring Orders

While awaiting the hearing of the application for a Safety Order or Barring Order, the Applicant can seek a Protection Order or an Interim Barring Order. These are granted by a Judge without the abuser being present after hearing evidence from the Applicant.

Protection Orders are the interim relief available where a Safety Order has been applied for, while Interim Barring Orders can be sought while awaiting a Barring Order application. In both cases, this continues in effect until the case is decided.

Breach of a Domestic Violence Order

Domestic violence orders take effect from the time the accused is notified of the making of the order. This either occurs at the time of making the order if the Respondent is in court, or upon service of the order by post or service of the order by Gardaí.

Anyone who breaches a safety order, barring order or interim order is guilty of a criminal offence, and may be arrested without warrant by Gardaí and prosecuted. The penalties on conviction include a fine of up to €1,904.61 and/or a sentence of twelve months in prison. A Defendant who is spared a custodial sentence faces the prospect of a criminal record. At present proceedings for the breach of an order take place in open (Criminal) court.

The Courts can also punish a person who breaches an order.

Domestic Violence – Who can apply for court protection?

  • Safety Order
  • Barring Order
  • Protection order
  • Interim Barring Order

Useful Resources:

The Courts Service website has a very useful family law webpage; which includes a very informative section on court procedure with detail on the laws and procedures for individual applications in the areas of Domestic Violence.

It also explains the nature and impact of the various forms of protection available from the courts in the context of Domestic Violence.

The Womens’ Aid page contains concise information on the following most frequently asked questions:

  • When does the order come into effect?
  • What orders can I apply for?
  • How do I apply for orders?
  • Do I need legal representation?
  • What documentation do I need?
  • What happens next?
  • How am I protected in the meantime?
  • What happens at full hearings?
  • What if an order is broken?
  • Who can avail of Protection through the Courts?
  • Who doesn’t qualify for protection?
  • Is there any other form of legal protection?
  • What about divorce and separation?
  • Who can help me through this process?

FLAC has produced a Domestic violence leaflet which contains clear and useful information on the court orders that can be granted.

The Law Society of Ireland has produced an information leaflet outlining the orders that can be granted by the courts.


COSC – The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence

  • Address: Department of Justice and Equality, 2nd Floor, Montague Court, Montague Street, Dublin 2
  • Tel: 01 4768680
  • Email:
  • Website:

 TUSLA – Child and Family Agency

  • Address: Child and Family Agency, Block D, Park Gate Business Centre, Parkgate Street, Dublin, Ireland
  • Tel:(01) 635 2854
  • Website:

Legal Aid Board

  • Address: Legal Aid Board, Quay Street, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry.
  • Also 33 full time offices nationwide – other part-time offices
  • Tel: (066) 947 1000 Lo-call No: 1890 615 200  Fax: (066) 947 1035
  • Website:

Free Legal Advice Centre

  • Address: Free Legal Advice Centre, 13 Lower Dorset Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
  • Legal information lines: Lo-Call: 1890 350 250 / +353 1 874 5690
  • Website:

 Citizens Information



  • Address: Barnardos National Office, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8. (Open Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5pm)
  • Tel: 01 453 0355 Callsave: 1850 222 300
  • Email:
  • Website: