Ireland. Domestic violence and sexual violence by partner or husband - Labirint
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Ireland. Domestic violence and sexual violence by partner or husband

    Ireland. Domestic violence and sexual violence by partner or husband

    We have collected instructions, recommendations and contacts, which can help you in the chosen country and situation

    01. Call the Police

    — What should I do if I am in danger and need emergency help?

    Call 112 or 999 (emergency services) from a mobile or fixed phone line.  This number works in any EU country and from any phone, free of charge.  The operator will contact the fire, ambulance, and police services (Garda Siochana, Irish police force). 

    For child abuse cases, there is a 24-hour dedicated phone line for reporting child sexual abuse at 1800 555 222.  This confidential and free phone line operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

    If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired, you can report a crime by SMS text message on 112. However, you must first register your phone number on the 112 SMS service, and it must only be contacted in the event of an emergency.

    In less urgent situations, you should contact your local Garda station to report a crime. If it would make you more comfortable, you can request to speak to a male or female Garda. If you do not speak English fluently, the Gardaí can provide free translation services. If you cannot go to a Garda Station, you can request that a Garda comes to your home to take a report.

    — Do I need documents to call the police?

    No.

    — If I have any migration issues (e.g., visa overstay), is it safe for me to call the police? 

    Although it will assist the Gardaí if you provide as much information as possible, you do not have to give your name when reporting a crime. If you wish to provide confidential information about a crime or other activities, you can:

    • Contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
    • Contact Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025.  This is staffed by members of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Crimestoppers guarantees anonymity and offers cash rewards for information.

    This may become an issue once the Gardaí begins an investigation, requiring a statement regarding the incident.  However, on 31 January 2022, Ireland launched a new scheme to allow people without immigration status to apply for legal residence.  Certain requirements exist, and the scheme is only open until 31 July 2022.

    — Can I say that I am a victim of domestic violence? Authorities’ formal and informal attitudes

    Yes, and the Garda Siochana publicly state that they take such complaints very seriously and are here to help.  There are also NGOs to assist, e.g., Women’s Aid

    Women’s Aid has a National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Are there restraining orders in Ireland? Can the aggressor be forbidden to approach me?

    Under the Irish Domestic Violence Act 1996, there are two different orders for which you can apply at the Irish District Court, which will provide protection.

    • A Barring Order requires that the violent person leave the family home. It also prohibits the violent person from using or threatening to use violence against you and/or any dependent children. The court can direct the respondent not to attend at, or in the vicinity of, or watch the place where the applicant and dependents reside. The court can also prohibit the abuser from communicating (including electronically) with the applicant or any dependents (child).  Such an order may remain in place up to 3 years after it is made, and the order can be renewed. 
    • A Safety Order prohibits the abuser from further violence or threats of violence. It does not oblige the violent person to leave the family home. If the abusive person does not live with you, the Safety Order prohibits them from being in the vicinity of or watching your home. It also prohibits the abuser from communicating (including electronically) with you or a dependent, i.e., any child.  This can last up to 5 years after it is made, and the order can be renewed. 
    • In the interim, whilst awaiting a court hearing, the Irish courts may protect you with an order that lasts only until the hearing date.  There are two ways the court can protect you while you wait for your hearing:
    1. Protection Order

    The Protection Order can be granted if the court thinks there are reasonable grounds to believe your safety and welfare is at risk. The Protection Order has the same effect as the Safety Order (but is only valid until the court hearing for the Safety/Barring Order takes place) whereby the abusive person is prohibited from further violence or threats of violence but is not required to leave home.

    If the court is of the view that a Protection Order would not be sufficient to protect you while you wait for your court date, then an Interim Barring Order is granted. The granting of an Interim Barring Order is based on the opinion of the court that there are reasonable grounds for believing that there is an immediate risk of significant harm to you.

    1. Interim Barring Order

    The Interim Barring Order can be granted orally, and written evidence is not necessarily required. It is a temporary barring order (requiring the violent person to leave home) that lasts until the full hearing for the barring order but can last no longer than 8 working days. The orders are made without notice, where only one side is represented in the application.

    If you do not want a protection order or an interim barring order immediately, you can seek one at any time before your case is heard for a barring or safety order.

    — What can I do if the aggressor violated the order?

    If the abuser breaches a Protection, Safety, or Barring Order, this is an offense, and you can call your local Garda station. 

    — What will happen next?

    Where a domestic abuse order (see above) is in place, the Gardaí will arrest the perpetrator. 

    If there is no domestic abuse order in place and the Gardaí have grounds to suspect that an offense has been committed and they have a power of arrest, they will utilize that power of arrest against the perpetrator. 

    — I filed a complaint and now want to withdraw it can I do this?

    Yes. 

    — What evidence is needed to bring a case against the abuser and prosecute?

    For ex-parte cases (for protection or interim barring order), you just need to attend in person. You will need to mention any evidence you have for the full hearing – this includes reports from GPs, hospitals, or the Gardaí.

    You will need an address for the abuser/respondent.

    You must also bring proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s license.

    — What laws regulate domestic and sexualized partner violence?

    List of Articles from Administrative and Criminal Codes

    Domestic Violence Act 2018

    • The Domestic Violence Act 2018 greatly improved domestic violence legislation in Ireland. It consolidated existing law on domestic violence and provides for additional protections for victims.
    • Among other measures, it extends eligibility for certain orders, introduces the new emergency barring order, provides guidelines for the courts, provides for out of hours sittings of the courts for emergency applications and includes a number of measures to improve the applicant’s experience of the court process.
    • The Domestic Violence Act 2018 introduces two new criminal offenses: coercive control and forced marriage. It also provides for aggravating circumstances when certain offenses (such as assault, threats, harassment, false imprisonment, and sexual assault offenses) are committed against a spouse, civil partner, or person in an intimate relationship with the offender.

    Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017

    • This act enhances and updates laws to combat children’s sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, including new offenses relating to child sexual grooming and new and strengthened offenses to tackle child pornography. This act also criminalizes the purchase of sexual services, introduces new provisions regarding giving evidence by victims in sexual offense trials, and introduces a new offense addressing public indecency. Other provisions include maintaining the age of consent to sexual activity at 17 years of age, a new “proximity of age” defense, and a statutory statement of the law regarding consent to sexual acts.

    Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017

    • This act transposes into Irish law the EU Victims of Crime Directive, establishing minimum standards on the rights of victims of crime.[6] It includes a number of supporting measures for victims when they report crimes and during the investigation and criminal proceedings. It provides for individual assessment of victims to establish their protection needs and consequent measures. It also provides special court measures to ensure victim safety and mitigate secondary victimization.
    • The act introduces a number of statutory rights for victims of crime, including:
      • A. the right to comprehensive information on the criminal justice system
      • B. the right to information on victim support services
      • C. the right to be kept informed on the progress of the investigation and any court proceedings
      • D. the right to an individual assessment of their protection needs and measures to safeguard them from further victimization and intimidation
      • E. the right to be informed of a decision not to institute a prosecution and the right to request a review of that decision
      • F. the right to receive information in clear and concise language and to interpretation and translation where necessary

    Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997

    • Offences under Sections 2 to 15 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 are considered aggravating circumstances under the Domestic Violence Act 2018. This includes:
      • assaults
      • threats to kill or cause serious harm
      • attacks involving syringes, or blood
      • coercion
      • harassment
      • demands for payment of debt causing alarm
      • poisoning
      • endangerment
      • endangering traffic
      • false imprisonment

    Domestic violence policies

    • Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021
    • This follows the first national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, which ran from 2010 to 2014.
    • The overall aims of the strategy, to create a safer Ireland are to:
      • A. change societal attitudes to support a reduction in domestic and sexual violence
      • B. improve supports available to victims and survivors

    02. Get medical help

    — How to get medical help?

    Call 112 or 999 (emergency services) from a mobile or fixed phone line.  This number works in any EU country and from any phone, free of charge.  The operator will contact the fire, ambulance, and police services (Garda Siochana, Irish police force). 

    Do I need money/documents/being registered in the country to get medical help?

    For general healthcare:  Everyone ordinarily resident in Ireland and certain visitors to Ireland are entitled to a range of public health services either free or at a reduced cost. You are ordinarily resident if you have been living in Ireland for at least a year or intend to live here for at least one year.  

    If you have a medical card issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE), you can get certain health services free. Usually, your dependent spouse or partner and your children are also covered by the same range of health services.

    In general, if you have a medical card, you are entitled to free:

    • GP services
    • Prescribed drugs and medicines, subject to a charge for each item prescribed
    • Public hospital services
    • Specific dental, optical and aural services
    • Maternity and infant care services
    • Community care and personal social services

    Depending on your circumstances, short-term visitors to Ireland may be entitled to free health services or at a reduced cost.

    For urgent healthcare: Unless you have a medical card, you may be charged for ambulance services. However, the practice varies between different parts of the country, and charges may be waived in certain cases, for example, in cases of hardship.  

    Medical cards:  Anyone who is ‘ordinarily resident in Ireland can apply for a medical card. This means that you are living in Ireland and intend to live here for at least one year.

    To qualify for a medical card, your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments, and property (except for your own home) are taken into account in the means test.

    If you are coming to Ireland from Ukraine under the Temporary Protection Directive, you are entitled to health services and a medical card immediately.

    — If medical staff suspects that I am a survivor of crime, do they have to report to the police? 

    Doctors registered with the Irish Medical Council must maintain patients’ records in confidence. Still, there are some circumstances in which they may be obliged to give this information to third parties.

    Their ethical duty with regard to confidentiality is set out in the Medical Council guidelines Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners. The guidelines provide that where adult patients disclose historical abuse, the practitioner must assess the current risk to the individual, and if the view is that such person is considered at risk, they should be reported to the appropriate authorities, preferably with the patient’s consent.  The guidelines also provide that a practitioner must disclose information where such disclosure is required by law and this includes where they know or have reasonable grounds for believing that a crime involving sexual assault or other violence has been committed against a child or other vulnerable person. 

    Disclosure under the guidelines is also permissible where such disclosure is in the public interest to protect a patient, another identifiable person, or the community more widely. 

    Similarly, registered nurses and midwives in Ireland are bound by the Code of Professional Conduct, and Ethics developed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. Such Code provides that they may have to share confidential information if it is required by law, to protect the patients’ interests, to protect the interests of society, or to protect the interests of other people.

    03. Get in touch with local helping organizations

    — Which organizations can help?

    There are several NGOs that specialize in this. Below is the list of such NGOs made from publicly available sources. We have not contacted these NGOs, nor can we vouch for these organizations.

    Useful apps

    BRIGHT SKY IRELAND APP is a free app available on Google Play and Apple App Store. 

    Did our instructions help?

    When compiling the instructions, we relied on the help of volunteers and lawyers from different countries. If something went wrong – the organization didn’t respond to you, you found a bug or the instructions weren’t precise enough – tell us about it. Email us at: help@labirint.online

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