Legal Options

What are the different Orders I can get to protect me?

The two main orders are a Safety Order and a Barring Order.  
  • A Safety Order doesn’t require the violent person to leave the home but it does stop them from further violence or threats of violence.  If you are not living together the Safety Order prohibits them from being in the vicinity or watching your home.  
  • A Barring Order requires the violent person to leave the home and prohibits them from using or threatening violence against you and/or your children.

A Protection Order is an order you can get while you are waiting for the hearing for the Safety or Barring Order. A Protection Order has the same affect as a Safety Order but it only lasts until the hearing for the Safety Order or Barring Order.

An Interim Barring Order is a Barring Order that can be issued immediately by the court if it is deemed necessary because of an immediate serious risk – the Interim Barring Order is a Temporary Order – that means that a full hearing has to be heard within 8 days.

Both Protection Orders and Interim Barring Orders can be heard ‘ex-parte’ – this means you can attend on your own and the person you are seeking protection from (know as ‘the respondant’ does not need to be informed at that stage.

When any order (Protection Order, Interim Barring Order, Safety Order or Barring Order) is issued the respondent will receive a copy of the order by registered post by the court. A copy will also be sent to the Gardai.

How do I apply for an Order?

To apply for an order you need to go to your local District Court Office where the court staff will give you an application form to fill out. When your application has been processed the clerk will give you a date for a court hearing. The person who you are taking out the order against (known as ‘the respondent’) will then receive a summons for the court hearing on that date.

Do I need a Solicitor to represent me?

You can apply for an order at your local District Court office without a solicitor but it is recommended that you have a solicitor for the hearing for the Safety or Barring Order.

What will happen in court?

In court both yourself and the respondent (the person who you are seeking protection from) and your solicitors will be present with the judge. You will give evidence and your partner will be allowed to respond. You can both be cross examined by each others solicitors.  Usually you will have met with your solicitor before the court date and they may have asked you to prepare any documentation that might help your application such as dates of garda statements, doctors reports, dates and details of abusive incidents etc.

If I go to court for an order who will know?

Orders applied for under the Domestic Violence Act 1996 are heard in the Family Law Court. They are held ‘in camera’ – this means that members of the public, reporters etc are not allowed in to the courtroom and the decision of the judge also remains confidential to the people in the room. (The Gardai will be informed of any orders that are issued as they need to be aware of their powers of arrest if an incident occurs).

If you have a court order such as a Protection Order, a Safety Order, a Barring Order or Interim Barring Order and the person you have taken the order out against becomes abusive and breaks the terms of the Order, this is called a Breach of the Order and is considered a crime.  In this case, if you call the Gardai and make a statement, the case will go back to court but this time it will be held in the Criminal Court. The Criminal Court, unlike the Family Court, is an open court.

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