New Domestic Violence Bill passes all stages in the Oireachtas

The bill allows for protection against cross-examination being conducted in person

New Domestic Violence Bill passes all stages in the Oireachtas

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan (centre) welcomed passage of the Domestic Violence Bill | Image: Supplied

A new bill to provide legal protections for victims of domestic violence has passed all stages in the Oireachtas.

The Domestic Violence Bill 2017 contains an extensive list of factors a court must consider when dealing with an application for a domestic violence order.

It has also removed the requirement for a relationship to be 'committed' to enable a person to apply for a domestic violence order.

A court must also make an order where it is satisfied that the threshold for making an order has been reached.

Under the legislation, domestic violence orders will remain in force in respect of dependants after they reach the age of 18 until the orders expire.

And safety orders will be available to people who are in intimate relationships, but who are not cohabiting.

A section from the Domestic Violence Bill 2017 | Image: justice.ie

It also means victims of domestic violence who are cohabiting with, or are parents of, the perpetrator will be able to apply for an emergency barring order lasting eight working days.

The bill also allows courts to prohibit a perpetrator of domestic violence from communicating with the victim electronically, and it also provides protection against cross-examination being conducted in person.

Special out-of-hours sittings of the District Court may also be requested by gardaí to deal with urgent applications.

Victims will also be able to give evidence by live television link, to avoid the risk of intimidation.

Istanbul Convention

Speaking following the passage of the bill in the Seanad, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "This is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before the Oireachtas this year.

"Domestic violence can have devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences for victims as well as society as a whole.

"Protecting and supporting victims has been a key priority for this Government.

"The enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill is a key part of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence."

He added: "The bill will allow us to proceed further on the important issue of ratifying the Istanbul Convention.

"I want to see the convention ratified as a priority.

"The bill before the House today will help us meet many of the requirements of the convention."

The Istanbul Convention is a Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.