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Domestic abuse is violence or other forms of abuse by one person against another person that they are, or were, in an intimate relationship with. The abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial. Domestic abuse can affect children and other family members.
The following Sections are included on this page in relation to Domestic Violence:
- Domestic Violence and the Law
- What are the orders a court can make?
- Am I eligble?
- How and Where can I apply.
Domestic violence refers to the use of physical or emotional force or threat of physical force, including sexual violence, in an intimate relationship. As well as physical violence, domestic violence can also involve:
- emotional abuse
- the destruction of property
- controlling behaviour such as isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support
- threats to others including children
- control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and communication.
The Domestic Violence Act 2018 consolidates the law on domestic violence and provides for additional protections for victims of domestic violence.
The Act introduces a new offence of coercive control of a spouse, civil partner or intimate partner. Coercive control is a pattern of intimidation, humiliation and controlling behaviour that causes fear of violence or serious distress that has a substantial impact on the victim's day-to-day activities.
Under domestic violence legislation, the main kinds of protection available are safety orders and barring orders - see 'What are the orders a court can make'.
You can also find more information the Citizens Information website.
A barring order
This order prohibits the respondent from being violent or threatening to be violent to you and/or your children. This order means that the respondent must leave the place where you live together for a certain length of time. It can also forbid the respondent from following you, communicating with you (including by electronic means) or entering the place where you live. The end date of the order is usually stated by the court.
A safety order
This order prohibits the respondent from being violent or threatening to be violent to you and/or your children. This order can also forbid the respondent from coming to the place where you live if you do not live together. It can also forbid the respondent from following you or communicating with you (including by electronic means). The end date of the order is usually stated by the court.
Urgent temporary orders for immediate protection
If you need protection immediately you should apply for an urgent temporary order. You do not have to tell the respondent that you are making this application at this time. This is called an “ex-parte” application.
A Protection Order is a Temporary Safety Order that the court can put in place until the full hearing for a Barring Order or Safety Order has been finalised by the court.
The two types of temporary barring orders are:
- Interim Barring Order. It remains in place for up to 8 working days until the court hears the full application for the barring order.
- Emergency Barring Order. It remains in place for up to 8 working days. There is no possibility of applying for a full barring order when this ends.
You will have to attend a court hearing and give a sworn statement. The court may issue an order at that hearing.
The respondent will then receive a copy of the court order and the information sworn by you.
If you have been granted an order and the respondent breaks the terms of the order you should immediately call the Gardaí. If the respondent breaks the court order they may be arrested and brought before the criminal courts.
There are different groups of people who can apply for an order under the Domestic Violence Act, 2018. Each of those groups can apply for different categories of orders.
It is important that you are clear about your relationship with the respondent so that you apply to the court for the correct order.
You should let the court/court office know if you have any other current family law proceedings in place.
The table below is a guide that may help you decide what you want to apply to the court for.
|Relationship to Respondent||Barring||Safety||Protection||
A person who lived with the respondent in an intimate relationship before making the application (co-habitant)
|A person who was in an intimate relationship with the respondent but did not live with them before making the application||N||Y||Y||N||N|
|Parent of the respondent. Respondent has to be of full age and not a dependant||Y*||Y||Y||Y*||Y**|
|Parent of a child whose other parent is the respondent.||N||Y||Y||N||N|
|A person of full age who lives with the respondent. The relationship cannot be a contractual one such as landlord/tenant||N||Y||Y||N||N|
*Applicant must have same or greater legal or beneficial interest as the respondent in the property
**Applicant has none or has less legal or beneficial interest than the respondent in the property
You can go to the court office for the area where you live
You can go to the court office for the area where you would live if the behaviour of the respondent did not require you to live in another area.
To find your local court office access the 'Find Us' section on our website.
Court Rules and Forms
Most applications under the domestic violence legislation are made in the District Court. Order 59 of Court Rules regulates the procedure you must follow to obtain orders from the court. This order also include the forms you must complete to make your application.
Order 59 - District Court Rules
Other help and support
Staff of the Courts Service are unable to provide you with legal advice but you may be entitled to legal aid through the Legal Aid Board.
You can get information and support in relation to applying for a court order from your local domestic abuse support organisation.