Key Changes to The Domestic Violence Act 2018
The Domestic Violence Act 2018 replaces the Domestic Violence Act 1996 and the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2002. The New Act introduces factors that the Court shall consider when deciding on an application for an order under the Domestic Violence Act.
Some factors are as follows:
- history of violence
- any conviction of the Respondent
- increase in severity or frequency of violence
- exposure of children to violence
- history of animal cruelty
- destruction or damage to the personal property
- substance abuse, (including alcohol)
- the Applicant’s perception of the risk to his or her own safety or welfare
- whether the Applicant is economically dependent on the Respondent
This is not an exhaustive list and the Court can take into consideration anything else they deem relevant.
The Court will also have to give reasons as to why they grant or refuse an order (S17).
Eligibility for orders
Safety and Protection Orders:
The most significant change is that partners in an intimate relationship are NOW eligible for Safety and Protection orders, with no need of cohabitation.
Barring Orders and IBOs:
There is now no minimum period of cohabitation required for cohabitant applicants.
Emergency Barring Order:
This is a new order that gives time-limited protection where there is an immediate risk of significant harm to cohabitants who do not satisfy the property test (where the applicant must have an equal or greater interest in the property than the respondent).
New Offence of forced marriage (S 38)
The Act introduces a new criminal offence of forced marriage.
New Offence of coercive control (S 39):
This is a new offence which criminalises psychological abuse/controlling and coercive behaviour (a pattern of intimidation or humiliation involving emotional abuse) in an intimate relationship.
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