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 State 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 prohibits the Respondent from using violent or threatening behaviour towards the Applicant which includes stalking and/or putting them in fear. The Respondent is permitted to remain in the family home. If the parties do not normally live together, the order can prohibit the Respondent from watching or being near the victim’s home. A safety order can last for up to five years.
A Barring Order prohibits the Respondent from using violent or threatening behaviour towards the Applicant and requires the Respondent to leave the family home. A barring order can last for up to three years but can be extended on application to the court.
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 a safety or barring order and lasts until the full hearing of the application.
An Interim Barring Order may be granted at the discretion of the court if at the time of application for a barring order, 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 but can only last for a duration of 8 working days.
Breach of a Domestic Violence Order
Domestic violence orders take effect from the time the Respondent is notified of the making of the order. This either occurs at the time of the order being made where the Respondent is in court, or upon service of the order by post or service of the order by a member of an Gardaí.
Anyone who breaches a safety order, barring order, protection order or interim order is guilty of a criminal offence and may be arrested immediately 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. If convicted a Defendant who is spared a custodial sentence will still have a criminal record. At present proceedings for the breach of an order take place in open Criminal court but upon commencement of new laws in 2019, they will be held in private.
If you would like to access any further information on domestic violence court orders, the following websites may be of help to you:
The Courts Service website has a very useful family law webpage which includes an 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 most frequently asked questions about domestic violence court orders:
- 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 and the Law Society of Ireland have both produced information leaflets on the type of court orders that can be granted:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.cosc.ie
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: http://www.tusla.ie/
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: http://www.legalaidboard.ie
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: http://www.flac.ie/
- Address: Drop in 260 locations nationwide
- Tel: 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).
- Website: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/
- Address: St Anne’s Resource Centre, Railway Street, Navan, Co Meath.
- Tel: 046 9023718
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.amen.ie
- Address: Barnardos National Office, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8. (Open Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5pm)
- Tel: 01 453 0355 Callsave: 1850 222 300
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.barnardos.ie