A safety order means that a violent person can remain in the home, but is ordered not to use violence, threats or molestation against you or a dependant person. If the person is not living with you, it may also prohibit them from watching, or being near, your home. Safety Orders may also prohibit the violent person from following or communicating (including electronically) with you or a dependent person.
A safety order made in the District Court can be in place for up to five years. There is no time limitation on a safety order when made in the Circuit Court.
Safety orders will be granted where the court considers there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person’s safety or welfare (or that of a dependant) is at risk.
Why use a safety order?
If the person applying for the safety order is trying to help the other person deal with a problem, such as addiction but they want protection from violence, or threats of violence. Also, if spouses are separated but haven’t applied for divorce or legal separation. Or, the person applying may be dependent on the abusive person for care.
The safety order can be renewed before the previous one has expired.
Who can apply for a safety order?
From 1 January 2019, people in an intimate relationship are eligible for safety orders. Previously couples had to cohabit to be able to get a safety order, but the 2018 Act has removed this requirement. The following people can apply for a safety order:
- Spouses and civil partners
- Parents with a child in common
- Partners in an intimate relationship (including cohabitants and dating partners)
- Parents of an abusive child if that child is over 18
- People residing with the respondent in a non-contractual relationship, such as two relatives living together
- Tusla, Child and Family Agencyon behalf of an “aggrieved person”.
How to apply for a safety order
To apply for a barring order, or a safety order, you must go to your local District Court Office. The court clerk will give you the relevant application forms to fill out.
This is the initial application and you will have to return for a full court hearing of the application. You do not need legal representation for the initial application, but it is highly recommended that you have legal representation when you return for the full hearing.
At this point, you should mention any evidence you have for the full hearing, including reports from your doctor, hospital or the Gardaí.
It is possible to apply for a safety order in the Circuit Court also. This is usually done at the same time as divorce or separation proceedings. It can be done as a standalone application also, but this is less common.
When will the full hearing be?
After the initial application, you will receive a summons with the date for the full hearing. A summons will be sent to the respondent by ordinary post. The respondent is the person you need to be protected from or want barred from your home.
How to protect yourself in the meantime
While you are waiting to go to court to get your safety order, you may be eligible to get a protection order, or an interim barring order, immediately. The Judge will hear your case on the day you make your application for a barring order or safety order.
Please contact your local domestic violence service for support. Find the one closest to you.
Or, if you are in immediate danger, please call the emergencies services on 999.
Other types of orders
Find out more about going to court for a domestic violence order
Learn more about your rights.