Under the Domestic Violence Act 1996 there are two main kinds of protection available to victims of domestic violence, a safety order and a barring order.
A protection order is pre-summons for a safety order and a barring order. A protection order is given when a person is being abused by their spouse or partner. It is an interim order which comes into effect immediately, and gives the Gardaí the right to arrest and charge, where the abuse or threats of abuse occur. Your spouse/partner may remain in the family home until the hearing for the barring or safety order. You will be given a copy of the protection order as will your spouse/partner if they are present and your local Garda station will be notified. Your spouse/partner will be notified of the court date by post if they are not present. This order does not exclude your spouse/partner from the family home, but orders that they shall not 'use or threaten to use violence, molest or put in fear the applicant spouse or child'.
A protection order cannot be applied for on its own. A protection order will only be granted to keep you safe whilst you are waiting for a court hearing for the barring order or safety order.
A separate application is made at the same time for the safety order or barring order. It is important that you are clear on which order you want the district court clerk to apply for on your behalf. The clerk, solicitor or women's refuge can explain the orders to you.
Apply for a maintenance order and a custody order if you need them, at the same time you apply for the protection order, barring order or safety order.
When you receive a copy of your protection order, bring it down to your local Garda station and get them to make a photocopy of it. This will cover the time it takes for the district court to post out a copy to the Garda station.
If you feel that your spouse or partner may become violent towards you when they learn of the protection order you, may want to stay with friends or family or in a refuge. Or if you feel you would be in danger of 'significant harm' discuss if a protection order would be sufficient with the Gardai, Court clerk or Refuge. An interim barring order may be more applicable in those circumstances.
In the case of an emergency the court judge can decide to grant an interim barring / safety order on the same day that the protection order was applied for
Someone from the refuge will go with you to court if you are nervous.
Apply for legal aid straight away as there is a waiting list.Legal Aid
It does not cost money to apply for one of these court orders at the district court and a solicitor is not necessary while applying. However it is advisable to get a solicitor for the court date for the barring order/custody/maintenance orders. See list of solicitors and questions to ask your solicitors.Drogheda Solicitors
If you are nervous or worried about attending court, one of our Court Accompaniment workers can go with you. In order to arrange this contact the refuge on 041-9844550