Should you or your children be receiving violent threats or acts, then it’s recommended that you apply for a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) or a Misconduct Restraining Order (MRO). These orders can apply to someone you are or are not in a domestic relationship with. They are governed by the Restraining Orders Act of 1997 and a breach of the order is a criminal offence with penalties including fines and/or imprisonment. The difference between the Orders is the nature of the behaviour in question, the relationship between the applicant and the respondent and duration that the order applies. Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a restraining order or a guardian or a police officer may apply for you. If you are not yet 18, the police or a parent, guardian or child welfare officer (eg a Department for Child Protection case worker) can apply for a restraining order for you.
The act of physical violence is not a requirement for a restraining order. Threats of violence, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse are also grounds for granting a restraining order, including stalking, damaging property, hurting animals or pets, or acting in an ongoing intimidating, offensive or abusive manner.
A restraining order can have conditions which stop the person bound from doing certain things such as:
- being on or near the protected person’s home or place of work
- coming within a certain distance of the person protected
- contacting or trying to contact the person protected in any way
- behaving in certain ways
- being in possession of firearms, ammunition or a firearms licence
If you believe you require a restraining order or one has been brought against you, please Contact Us immediately to discuss your situation. For more comprehensive information, please see the Legal Aid website.