Wednesday 20 September 2017

235 get jail terms for breaching barring orders

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

MORE than 200 people received jail terms last year for breaking barring and safety orders granted by the courts to protect families experiencing domestic violence.

But almost half (115) of the 235 who broke court orders received a suspended sentence, according to new figures released by the Courts Service.

In the first detailed analysis of what happens to families who seek court protection as a result of domestic violence, it has emerged that a high proportion of allegations are withdrawn by complainants.

COMPLAINT

Many fail to progress their complaint, refuse to testify, or reconcile with their abusive partner.

There were 1,159 allegations of breaches of barring and safety orders last year, but 530 allegations were struck out or withdrawn.

Under Ireland's Domestic Violence laws, there are two main kinds of protection available: a safety order, which can last for up to five years, and a barring order, which can last for up to three years.

A safety order bans the violent person from further violence or threats of violence, but does not ban them from their home.

If they do not live in the home, the violent person is banned from watching or being near the complainant.

A barring order, which includes the protections of a safety order, requires the violent person to leave the family home.

There was a 34pc increase in applications for safety orders with 5,026 applications last year compared with 3,755 in 2011.

Yesterday, the Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham said the increase in the number of applications to the District Court under the domestic violence legislation might be explained by new laws allowing additional categories of people to file for court protection, such as people who are not married or who are in a civil partnership.

Irish Independent

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