Belfast Domestic Violence Partnership

Claire Edgar

16 February 2016


This month Claire Edgar, our Partner who heads up our Family Law Department, was a speaker at the Belfast Domestic Violence Partnership conference.


The conference, which was held in Belfast Castle for a wide range of professional delegates, dealt with Legal Remedies in Domestic Violence.

Claire has a special interest in legal issues around domestic violence. She serves as a committee member of the Protection and Justice group within the Domestic Violence Partnership.

At the talk, Claire presented a summary of the legal procedures available for victims of domestic violence focusing in particular on the legal protections available under the Family Homes and Domestic Violence Order (NI) 1998.

There are two types of Order which the Court can make under this legislation. The first is a Non-Molestation Order, which is an Order that a person must not molest, harass, pester, use or threaten violence against the applicant. The second Order is an Occupation Order and this Order can provide for the removal of a person from a property and prohibit them from returning to this property. The Courts can also make an exclusion zone, excluding a person from a particular place. 

These Orders are served by the police and take effect once served. It is a criminal offence to breach any of these Orders and the police have powers to arrest a person for an alleged breach. The police treat domestic violence very seriously and have dedicated domestic abuse teams to deal with these matters. 

If there has been a recent incident of abuse within the last few days, an emergency application to the Court for an Order. This is an application is made where the Respondent is not notified and is not present at Court. This is a short term Order which provides protection until such times as the Respondent can be given notice of the application and will have the opportunity to attend at Court and defend it. 

Domestic violence isn’t just about physical abuse but involves a whole range of controlling and abusive behaviour such as threats and psychological, sexual, financial and emotional control. It is widely recognised that people suffering from domestic violence may need ongoing emotional and practical support and a number of organisations who provide such assistance attended at the conference.

If you would like any further information on this issue or any matter concerning domestic violence issues, please feel free to contact us for advice on 028 9024 3901 or online using the contact us form.