Domestic abuse can take many forms. These include physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, financial and economic abuse and coercive control. Here our Orlagh Sharkey, Head of Family Law, outlines the various steps you can take if you are experiencing domestic abouse.


If you are subject to domestic violence you can make immediate applications to the District Court for orders such as an Interim Barring Order or Protection Order. These applications can be made to a District Court Judge at relatively short notice to the Court Clerk. If there is an immediate risk of danger to you an emergency order can be obtained on a temporary basis until the full hearing of your case before the court.


What is the Difference Between a Safety Order, a Barring Order and a Protection Order?



Safety Order

A Safety Order is in order of the court which prohibits a person from further violence and threats of violence. There is no obligation on the party whom a Safety Order is made against to vacate the home. If the person does not reside with you the Safety Order can prohibit them from watching or being near your home to include restricting communication with you.


Barring Order

A Barring Order on the other hand directs the abusive person to vacate the home. It prohibits the person from entering a place until further order of the court or until such time as specified by the court. A Barring Order can prohibit the person from using threatening behaviour or violence against the person or molesting or putting in fear the person. It also prohibits them from watching a place where the person resides and engaging in communication electronically or otherwise or following the applicant. A Barring Order can remain in place for up to 3 years after its initial ordering and it can be renewed if necessary.


Protection Order

If you have applied for a Safety Order or a Barring Order and you are awaiting a hearing before the court it is possible to obtain an interim order. This is an order which lasts until the hearing of your case. Such an order is a Protection Order and it is granted in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the safety or welfare of a person requires the making of a Protection Order. An application for a Protection Order can be made Ex parte. This means that the person against whom the order is made is not aware of the application for the order.


When there is an Immediate Risk of Harm from Domestic Abuse


If there is an immediate risk of significant harm to you or a dependent person you can make an immediate application to the court for an emergency Barring Order which will require the abusive person to vacate the home immediately and prohibits that person from re-entering the home. Such an order can be obtained in the District Court and will last for eight days at which point an application for a permanent Barring Order should be made.


When to Seek Help For Domestic Abuse


Any person living in a controlling or abusive relationship should seek help. There are many supports available through Women’s Aid and the Domestic Violence Advocacy Services which will support a person in making the necessary court applications. Coercive control and domestic violence can have a detrimental effect on one’s confidence and general well-being and as a result it is best to avail of help immediately and obtain the protections of the court.


In my experience of dealing with victims of domestic violence the situation does not get better with time but rather worsens. The effects of a violent relationship are long-lasting on the adults and children involved. It is therefore advisable that any person who is suffering abuse at the hands of another person would seek immediate assistance.


If you have any questions about the issues raised in this article you can contact Orlagh Sharkey by email or phone on 071 916 2032.