Press release

Green Party Senator proposes strengthening protection for victims of domestic violence

14th February 2024
Vincent P Martin

The Green Party is proposing new legislation that will increase protections for victims of domestic violence by increasing the punishment  for breaching a domestic violence related protective court order. 

A cross party Bill entitled Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2024 introduced by Green Party Senator Vincent P Martin which was debated in the Seanad today proposes to increase the punishment for breaching such court orders from the current maximum 12 months sentence to up to 5 years. The Bill provides for the prosecution, in appropriate cases, to bring the more serious indictable charge. 

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women's Aid said there are 'situations of multiple breaches of orders' and the Bill represents a more updated response to a very serious issue of concern.

Keith Walsh SC, solicitor and co-author of a book to be published shortly entitled, “Domestic Violence: Law and Practice in Ireland", who supports this proposed legislative initiative said that in the year 2022, 10,000 protection orders were obtained in domestic violence related cases and there were 5,000 breaches of these orders in 2022. 

Senator Martin said;

“Domestic violence is a human rights issue. It is essential that we ensure victims of domestic violence receive justice but also that they are protected from the threat of future violence. 

"Enacting this legislation will also strengthen the bail regime which an accused person applying for bail must face. 

"Currently all persons charged with breaching a domestic violence protective order of any kind can only be prosecuted in a summary manner in the District Court. This blanket, one size fits all approach is of its time and out of time. The Bill is focused on giving victims safety, security and peace of mind knowing that their order obtained in court will have more real protective meaning and impact." 

The Bill proposed by Senator Martin will increase the penalty for breaching such court orders to up to 5 years sentence  (in line with for example the offence of coercive control).

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