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Understanding the Law on Domestic Abuse

By March 20, 2023June 26th, 2024No Comments


Understanding the Law on Domestic Abuse

Many people believe that in order to bring an application for domestic abuse that the abuse must be physical in nature.  The legal position in relation to bringing domestic violence applications was consolidated by the Domestic Violence Act 2018 which provided for additional protections for victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence can involve, in addition to physical abuse the following characteristics: –

  1. Emotional abuse.
  2. Controlling behaviour such as isolation from friends, family and other support structures.
  3. Threats to others including children.
  4. Damage, so destruction to property.
  5. Stalking
  6. Control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and communication.

The 2018 Act introduced a new offence of Coercive Control of a spouse, civil partner or intimate partner.  The new offence can be characterised by a pattern of intimidation, humiliation and controlling behaviour that causes fear of violence or serious distress and that has a substantial impact on the victims day to day activities.

What to do if you feel you are the victim of domestic abuse:

  1. You can apply to the nearest District Court on an ex-party i.e., one party only basis for a Protection Order.  A Protection Order is essentially a temporary Safety Order which a Court can put in place pending an application for a Barring Order or a Safety Order.  The Protection Order prohibits the Respondent from being violent or threatening to be violent to you or your children and can forbid the Respondent from coming to the place where you live if you don’t live together or from communicating with you by certain means.
  2. A Safety Order is essentially a more permanent Protection Order which will give the same protection as a Protection Order but for a longer period of time.
  3. A Barring Order is Order that prohibits the Respondent from being violent to you or to your children and will require the person to leave the place where you have lived together for a certain period of time up to three years.

An Interim Barring Order will usually be given for a period of 8 working days and the Court will then hear a full application for the Barring Order.

If there is breach of any of the Domestic Violence Orders i.e., a Protection Order, Safety Order or a Barring Order then this is a criminal offence, and you should contact the Gardai immediately on 999/112.

If you feel you require additional support you should contact Women’s Aid 1800 341 900 or Men’s Aid 5543811.

Other useful resources for help are:

It is important to note that the category of persons to bring applications under Domestic Violence Act also includes a parent of the Respondent where the Respondent is of full age.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon ,Erika Coughlan or Aoife Cathcart  on 01-2960666.