The Domestic Violence Act 2018 came into effect on the 1st January 2019.
The Act will have a considerable impact on family and criminal law as it introduces a new type of Order (Emergency Barring Order), reconfigures who can apply for Protection Orders, Safety Orders, Interim Barring Orders and Barring Orders.
The Act directs the Court as to what must be taken into consideration in those applications, deals with the issue of personal cross-examination, applicants being accompanied to court, effectively imposes the in-camera rule in respect of prosecutions for breaches of the above Orders.
It introduces a new offence into Irish law coercive control. This is a progressive part of the legislation, as it is the first recognition in Irish criminal law of the damage caused to a victim by psychological abuse.
Coercive control is defined as "knowingly and persistently controlling" a spouse, civil partner or intimate partner, so that it has a serious affect on the victim, and a reasonable person would expect the behaviour to have a serious affect on the victim. A serious affect is defined as giving rise to a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress so as to impact the victim's pursuit of their daily activities.
The 2018 Act for the first time, allows unmarried victims without the required property interest to seek an Emergency Barring Order. This is an order which requires the perpetrator to leave the family home for a maximum of eight days, even if they are unmarried and the sole owner or lease-holder of the property. It is granted where there is an immediate risk of serious harm to the applicant or their dependants.
The above is intended for information purposes only, and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Please contact us for advice specific to your needs.