Victims of harassment will get faster and greater protection after amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act were passed yesterday.
Courts will try to hear applications for interim protection orders within 72 hours, and within 24 hours when violence is involved.
Those who breach protection orders can also be arrested on the spot if hurt was caused, with repeat offenders facing double the maximum penalties.
Those who harass their intimate partners or the mentally or physically disabled will also face double the punishment.
Judges in the new Protection from Harassment Court will have to consider if a criminal investigation is needed when they grant temporary protection orders.