My partner has been violent towards me and my children. What can I do to stop this and protect my family?
If you are concerned about violence in your home, you can contact the Gardaí, who are specially trained to deal with these situations and can offer advice and information. Under the Domestic Violence Act 1996, where there is an order in place, Gardaí have the power to arrest and prosecute a violent family member. There are two main kinds of protection available – a safety order and a barring order.
A safety order is an order of the court which prohibits the violent person with whom you are living from further violence or threats of violence. It does not oblige the person to leave the family home. You can also get a safety order against a person with whom you have had a child, even if you are no longer living with or have never lived with the person. It prohibits them from watching or being near your home. A safety order can last up to 5 years.
A barring order is an order which requires the person to leave the family home. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, you can get a barring order against a violent partner if you have been living together in an intimate and committed relationship for 6 out of the previous 9 months and if your partner does not own most or all of the house you are living in. A barring order can last up to 3 years.
Both types of order can be renewed by applying for a further order before the previous one has expired. Others living together can also apply for protection. For example, a parent can apply for protection against domestic violence by their own child, if the child is over 18.
To get a barring order or a safety order, you must apply to the District Court. While you are waiting for the court to hear your application, the court can give you an immediate order, called a protection order. The protection order has the same effect as a safety order. In exceptional circumstances the court can grant an interim barring order. This is an immediate order, requiring the violent person to leave the family home.
Further information, including information on support groups, is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000