The Domestic Violence Bill passed today in the Seanad and tribute must be paid to the cross-party co-operation which ensured that the bill was strengthened and now contains new provisions.
The new criminal offence of controlling and abusive behaviours perpetrated against intimate partners, as well as the definition of an intimate relationship, marks a new departure in attitudes to domestic violence.
I am confident that the enhanced list of factors to be taken into account when applying for an order, under this new Act, will simplify the decision process of granting such an order.
I particularly welcome the ‘out of hours’ hearings for Emergency Barring Orders, Interim Barring Orders and protection Orders. The fact that the cohabitation requirement for applying for such orders has been scrapped is also very welcome.
I urge the Government to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the protections and safeguards enshrined in this Act are available as soon as possible.
What we achieved in course of this Act will only mean something if the victims of domestic abuse and violence, both now and in the future, can use the new provisions to help ensure their safety.