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Domestic abuse

Where the court, on application to it for a barring order or between the making of that application and its determination, is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing there is an immediate risk to the safety of you (the applicant) or a dependent (and a protection order would not provide sufficient protection), the court shall grant an interim barring order. The Interim barring order requires the abusive person to leave the home and prohibits the person from entering the home for up to 8 days. 

An interim barring order may also prohibit the respondent from doing any one or more of the following as the Court thinks fit:

•             using or threatening to use violence against the applicant/dependent person,

•             molesting or putting in fear the applicant/dependent person,

•             watching or besetting a place where the applicant/dependent person resides,

•             following or communicating (including electronically) with the applicant/dependent person 

An interim barring order may be obtained by:

  • the spouse of the respondent,
  • the civil partner of the respondent,
  • a person who is not the spouse or civil partner of the respondent and is not related to the respondent within a prohibited degree of relationship but lived with the respondent in an intimate relationship prior to the application for the barring order, or
  • a parent of the respondent who is not a  dependent person. 

An interim barring order expires on the determination by the court of the application for the barring order.

The Court may place such exceptions or further conditions on the interim barring order as it sees fit.

An interim barring order may be made ex parte (where the respondent is not in court). However, an ex-parte order expires within a maximum of 8 working days unless, on application by the victim and on notice to the respondent, the ex-parte order is confirmed within that period by order of a court.

An ex parte interim barring order will not exceed eight days. An interim barring order obtained, will cease on the determination of the application for the barring order.

Domestic abuse is the physical, sexual, financial, emotional or psychological abuse of one person against another who is a family member or is or has been an intimate partner, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Domestic abuse crosses class, gender, race and religious belief.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Policy 2017 is available here

Domestic Violence Act 2018 is available here

Guide to Safety Orders in Dating Relationships is available here

FAQs in respect of the Domestic Violence Act 2018

If you are in danger call the Gardaí on 999/112. When you call 999/112 uniformed Gardaí will arrive at your location in a marked patrol car. They will ensure that you are not in immediate danger. When you are safe, you will have time to discuss with the Gardaí exactly why you called.

If you are not in immediate danger and you require advice and or assistance, you can visit or call your local Garda Station. You can ask to speak with a guard in private. 

Following an Emergency Call or a Visit to a Garda Station you may be asked the following questions:

    • Full details of name & address & contact numbers.

    • Details of any court orders that are in place?

    • Who is the domestic abuse being perpetrated against?

    • Are there children present?

    • Have alcohol or drugs been taken?

    • Does the perpetrator have access to any weapons?

    • Is there a history of abuse?

    • What is the situation now?

There are no right or wrong answer to these questions.  We just need to find out as much information as possible to ensure that you are safe and that you stay safe.

Coercive Control is a persistent pattern of controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour including all or some forms of domestic abuse (emotional, physical, financial, sexual including threats) by a boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, husband/wife or ex-partner.

This can have a serious impact including the fear of violence, cause serious alarm and distress and can result in a person giving up work, changing their routines, losing contact with family and friends. Coercive control can damage a person’s physical and emotional well-being.

Coercive control can be difficult to detect from the outside looking into a relationship, so too can it be hard to spot when in the relationship itself. As the behaviour worsens and each iteration of abuse becomes a new normal, low self-esteem is just one of the many factors that can stop victims from seeing the reality of their situation. 

Coercive control is a criminal offence where a person knowingly and persistently engages in behaviour that:

  • is controlling or coercive,
  • has a serious effect on a relevant person, and a reasonable person would consider it likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person.

A relevant person is:

  • a spouse or civil partner,
  • not a spouse, civil partner, or related to the other person but is or was in an intimate relationship with that other person.

Serious effect is described as behaviour that causes the person to fear that violence will be used against them or the behaviour causes serious alarm or distress that has a substantial impact on their day to day activities.

While a person may have been subjected to coercive control prior to the 1st of January 2019, coercive control only became a criminal offence since this date. 

Click here to read the Press Release on the First Conviction and Sentencing for Coercive Control in Ireland, Tuesday 11 February 2020

Does your partner/ex-partner:

  • Isolate you from friends and family,
  • Deprive you of basic needs, such as food, electricity, heating,
  • Monitor your time and behaviours,
  • Monitor you via online communication tools or spyware,
  • Take control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear, when to be home and when you can sleep,
  • Deprive you access to support services, including medical services,
  • Repeatedly put you down, for example saying “you’re worthless”,
  • Humiliate, degrade or dehumanise you,
  • Control your finances,
  • Make threats or intimidate you,
  • Damage belongings,
  • Subject you to sexual abuse and/or physical violence.

Do they:

  • Appear frightened of their partner/ex-partner,
  • Appear isolated from family and friends,
  • Show signs of a change in behaviour, for example more withdrawn, have  low self-esteem and/or appear anxious or depressed,
  • Make excuses for their partner’s abusive behaviour,
  • Have unexplained bruises or cuts,
  • Continually get phone calls or texts from their partner/ex-partner, wanting to know where they are and whom they’re with,
  • Appears defensive or concerned about engaging with Gardaí.

Coercive control is a criminal offence, you should report it to the Gardaí.

The Gardaí will:

  • Give you advice
  • Seek to obtain a statement from you
  • On obtaining a statement from you they will initiate an investigation
  • Gather evidence – such as medical records, financial records, records of interactions with support services
  • Obtain any witness statements - for example from family and/or friends who may be able to give evidence about witnessed behaviour, and/or impact on you of isolation from them
  • Examine GPS tracking devices that may have been installed, where applicable
  • Examine mobile phones, tablets, laptops, where applicable
  • When the file is complete it will be forwarded to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) for a direction on prosecution

Gardaí will always consider your safety when liaising with you and gathering evidence. It’s important to note that the investigating Garda will keep you informed and will not do anything without your consent

 

Victims of domestic abuse can apply for domestic violence orders from the family law district courts, which may give them additional protection. They include:

  • Safety Order
  • Emergency Barring Order
  • Interim Barring Order
  • Barring Order
  • Protection Order
  • Gardaí will arrive and introduce themselves.
  • They will speak to those involved separately and ascertain what occurred.
  • They will get details of those involved and the relationship between them.
  • Where there is a domestic abuse order in place and that order has been breached, the Gardaí will arrest the perpetrator.
  • Where there is no domestic abuse order in place and the Gardaí have grounds to suspect that an offence has been committed and they have a power of arrest, they will utilise that power of arrest.
  • Gardaí will investigate all offences that have occurred.
  • Gardaí will take a statement of complaint from the injured party.
  • Gardaí may seize any item that is considered evidence for their investigation.  
  • Gardaí will supply details of relevant support services.
  • Gardaí will follow up with the victim after the initial call.
  • Express concern.
  • Assure them that the abuse is not their fault.
  • Support, but don’t advise.
  • Give information on available domestic abuse services.
  • Only intervene if it is legal and safe for you to do so.

For further information visit www.whatwouldyoudo.ie  

(Department of Justice and Equality – What Would You Do Campaign)  

https://whatwouldyoudo.ie/

Does your partner:

• Constantly criticise you or put you down?

• Discourage your relationships with family and friends?

• Control all finances and force you to account in detail for what you spend?

• Deny you access to money even for household necessities?

• Prevent you from working, leaving your home or socialising?

• Constantly and obsessively ‘track’ your time and whereabouts?

• Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?

• Force you to have sex against your will?

• Push/shove, hit, punch, slap, kick or bite you or the children?

• Threaten to harm you, the children or your relatives?

• Threaten to or use a weapon against you?

• Threaten to kill you if you leave?

• Anger easily when drinking or taking drugs?

• Deliberately / maliciously destroy personal property or other items of sentimental value to you?

www.whatwouldyoudo.ie

If you are aware of abuse between strangers, evaluate the best way of intervening:

• Distract

• Delegate

• Direct

A safety order is an order of the court which prohibits the abusive person (the respondent) from committing further violence or threats of violence. The respondent is not obliged to leave the home. If the person is not living with you (the applicant), the safety order prohibits them from watching or being near your home and following or communicating (including electronically) with you or a dependent person (any child).

Safety and protection orders may be obtained by the following:

  • the spouse of the respondent,
  • the civil partner of the respondent,
  • a person who is not the spouse or civil partner of the respondent and is not related to the respondent within a prohibited degree of relationship, but was in an intimate relationship with the respondent prior to the application for the safety order,
  • a parent of the respondent and the respondent is of full age and is not, in relation to the parent, a dependent person,
  • being of full age, resides with the respondent in a relationship the basis of which is not primarily contractual, or
    has a child with the respondent.

A safety order does not exclude the offender from the home but offers the applicant (or a dependent) safety by prohibiting the respondent from:

  • using or threatening to use violence against the applicant/dependent person,
  • molesting or putting in fear the applicant/dependent person,
  • if not residing with the applicant, prohibits watching or besetting a place where the applicant/dependent person resides,
  • following or communicating (including electronically) with the applicant/dependent person.

The court may place such exceptions or further conditions on the order as it sees fit.

A safety order may remain in place up to 5 years after its making and may be renewed. 

A barring order requires the abusive person (the respondent) to leave the home and prohibits the person from entering the home. The court may also if it thinks fit prohibit the person from further violence or threats of violence, watching or being near your home, or following or communicating (including electronically) with you (the applicant) or a dependent person (any child).  

A barring order may be obtained by:

  • the spouse of the respondent,
  • the civil partner of the respondent,
  • a person who is not the spouse or civil partner of the respondent and is not related to the respondent within a prohibited degree of relationship but lived with the respondent in an intimate relationship prior to the application for the barring order, or
  • a parent of the respondent who is not a dependent 

A barring order shall:

  • direct the respondent, if residing at a place where the applicant/dependent person resides, to leave the place,
  • if the respondent is or is not residing at a place where the applicant/dependent person reside, shall prohibit the respondent from entering the place until further order of the court or until such other time as the court shall specify. 

A barring order may also prohibit the respondent from doing any one or more of the following as the Court thinks fit:

  • using or threatening to use violence against the applicant/dependent person,
  • molesting or putting in fear the applicant/dependent person,
  • prohibits watching or besetting a place where the applicant/dependent person resides,
  • following or communicating (including electronically) with the applicant/dependent person. 

A barring order may remain in place up to 3 years after its making and may be renewed.

 

Where the court, on application to it for a barring order or between the making of that application and its determination, is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing there is an immediate risk to the safety of you (the applicant) or a dependent (and a protection order would not provide sufficient protection), the court shall grant an interim barring order. The Interim barring order requires the abusive person to leave the home and prohibits the person from entering the home for up to 8 days. 

An interim barring order may also prohibit the respondent from doing any one or more of the following as the Court thinks fit:

•             using or threatening to use violence against the applicant/dependent person,

•             molesting or putting in fear the applicant/dependent person,

•             watching or besetting a place where the applicant/dependent person resides,

•             following or communicating (including electronically) with the applicant/dependent person 

An interim barring order may be obtained by:

  • the spouse of the respondent,
  • the civil partner of the respondent,
  • a person who is not the spouse or civil partner of the respondent and is not related to the respondent within a prohibited degree of relationship but lived with the respondent in an intimate relationship prior to the application for the barring order, or
  • a parent of the respondent who is not a  dependent person. 

An interim barring order expires on the determination by the court of the application for the barring order.

The Court may place such exceptions or further conditions on the interim barring order as it sees fit.

An interim barring order may be made ex parte (where the respondent is not in court). However, an ex-parte order expires within a maximum of 8 working days unless, on application by the victim and on notice to the respondent, the ex-parte order is confirmed within that period by order of a court.

An ex parte interim barring order will not exceed eight days. An interim barring order obtained, will cease on the determination of the application for the barring order.

Where on application to the Court for a safety or a barring order or between the making of the application and the decision to grant such an order, there are reasonable grounds for believing that the safety or welfare of you (the applicant) or dependent (any child) so requires a protection order may be granted.  If so, the court can grant a protection order to prohibit the respondent from:

  • using or threatening the use of violence against, molesting or putting in fear, the applicant or a dependent person,
  • if residing elsewhere, watching or besetting a place where the applicant or a dependent person resides,
  • following or communicating (including electronically) with the applicant or a dependent person.

A protection order expires on the determination by the court of the application for the barring or safety order.

A protection order may be made ex parte.

An emergency barring order requires the abusive person to leave the home, and prohibits the person from entering the home. This is an immediate order where there is reasonable grounds to believe there is an immediate risk of significant harm to you (the applicant) or a dependent person. 

An emergency barring order may be obtained by:

  • a person who is not a spouse or civil partner or is not related to the respondent but did live in an intimate relationship with the respondent prior to the application.
  • a parent of the respondent who is not a dependent.

An emergency barring order is only granted in circumstances where the applicant has no legal rights to the property or their rights are less than the respondent and there is an immediate risk of significant harm to the applicant or dependent person.

Where granted, an emergency barring order shall operate in the same manner as a barring order but will only last for eight days. A subsequent emergency barring order cannot be sought within one month of the expiration of a previous emergency barring order.

An emergency barring order may, if the court thinks fit, prohibit the abusive person (respondent) from:

  • using or threatening to use violence against you/dependent person,
  • molesting or putting you/dependent person in fear,
  • watching or besetting a place where you/dependent person resides,
  • following or communicating (including electronically) with you/dependent person.

BRIGHT SKY IRELAND APP:

Additional information can be found on “Bright Sky Ireland”. Bright Sky Ireland is a free app available on Google Play and Apple App Store. The app connects victims of domestic and sexual abuse to advice and support services across the country. It enables users to locate their nearest support centre by searching their area and provides information about different forms of abuse such as domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment.   It also provides a journal to record incidents of abuse by text, video, voice recording or photography.

Bright Sky AppLinks:

Domestic Abuse Intervention Policy 2017 is available here:

Domestic Violence Act 2018 is available here:

Guide to Safety Orders in Dating Relationships is available here:

Support Services:

 *An Garda Síochána

Emergency Tel: 999/112 – 24hrs

Report/Advice: Contact a local Garda Station

Visit: www.garda.ie

 

* Women's Aid

Tel: 1800 341 900 - 24hr National Freephone Helpline

Visit: www.womensaid.ie

Email: helpline@womensaid.ie

 

*Men’s Development Network

Tel: 1800 816 588 Male Victims National Helpline

Visit: Men's Network

Email: men@mens-network.net

 

* Safe Ireland

Tel: 090 6479078

Visit: www.safeireland.ie

Email: info@safeireland.ie

 

* ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services

Tel: 061 412354

Visit: www.adaptservices.ie

Email: info@adaptservices.ie

 

* Sonas

Tel: 087 952 5217 – Advice Line

24hr Refuge: 01 866 2015

Visit: www.domesticabuse.ie

Email: info@sonasdomesticabuse.ie

 

* Anyman – (dedicated support service for male victims)

Tel: 01 554 3811

Visit: www.anyman.ie

Email: crisis@anyman.ie

 

* Rape Crisis Help

Tel: 1800 778888

Visit: www.rapecrisishelp.ie

Email: info@rcc.ie

 

* Samaritans

Tel: 116 123 - 24 hr Helpline

Visit: www.samaritans.org

Email: jo@samaritans.ie

 

Where to get Legal Advice?

* Legal Aid Board

Tel: 066 947 1000 or 1890 615 200

Visit: www.legalaidboard.ie

Email: info@legalaidboard.ie

 

* Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC)

Tel: 1890 350 250 or 01 8745690

Visit: www.flac.ie

 

* Courts – Family Law

Visit: www.courts.ie for local court contact details