Sadly, domestic violence in Australia is all too common. According to the latest statistics released by DVConnect:
- 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner;
- 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence;
- 1 in 19 Australian men have experienced physical abuse at the hands of a current or former partner.
In 2018-19, over 30,000 Australians applied for an Order to protect them from domestic violence.
In addition, another 10,000 applied to have an existing Protection Order varied, according to figures from the Queensland courts.
Here, we’ll discuss how domestic violence is defined, the types of applications you can make to protect yourself and how we hope to assist those that have been affected by family and/or domestic violence.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic or family violence refers to violence, abuse and/or intimidation between people who are currently or have previously been in a ‘relevant relationship’.
In order to apply for a Domestic Violence Order in Queensland, you need to be in a ‘relevant relationship’ with the perpetrator (known legally as the defendant). These relationships are defined by the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, which states that relevant relationships include:
- Spousal relationships, including de facto relationships, biological parents of a child and same-sex couples
- Family relationships, including relations by blood or marriage and cultural relationships
- Informal care relationships, including unpaid carers who assist with day-to-day living arrangements
If you’re in Queensland and you’re part of one of these relationships, then you can apply to the court for a Domestic Violence Order (also known as a DVO). If you live elsewhere in Australia, then you’ll apply for an Apprehended Violence Order, or a similar type of order.
Domestic violence or family violence does not just include physical violence. It also includes:
- Sexual abuse;
- Verbal abuse;
- Emotional or psychological abuse;
- Economic or financial abuse;
- Social abuse;
- Spiritual abuse;
- Threats, coercive behaviour or controlling behaviour that makes you fear for your safety or wellbeing.
Types of Domestic Violence Orders
In Queensland, a Domestic Violence Order aims to stop threats or acts of domestic violence from occurring. You can apply for a DVO yourself, or you can ask a police officer or lawyer to apply for you.
You can apply to the court for a Temporary Protection Order, a Final Protection Order, or both. A Protection Order usually lasts for five years, but this can be extended or shortened at the discretion of the court.
Depending on which Australian State you are in, these Orders may be referred to as a Domestic Violence Order, Apprehended Violence Order or Intervention Order.
When the court issues a DVO, the order will include a number of conditions that will help protect you.
The minimum condition is that the respondent be of good behaviour and not commit further acts of violence against you.
The conditions on the Order can also extend to stopping the respondent from contacting you, preventing the respondent from approaching you, preventing the respondent from coming to your place of work, or forcing the person committing or threatening the violence to leave your home.
It is a criminal offence to breach the terms of a DVO. A defendant who breaches a DVO in Queensland is liable to a maximum of 3 years imprisonment or a fine up to 120 penalty units (currently approximately $14,136).
If the defendant has previously been convicted of a domestic violence offence, this penalty may increase to up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to 240 penalty units (currently approximately $28,272).
If someone has breached a DVO and you are in immediate danger, call 000 immediately and explain what’s happened, when the breach occurred and where the breach occurred.
If you’ve been accused of breaching a DVO, contact us immediately and we can help explain your rights.
How Damien Greer Lawyers Can Help You
Whether you’re applying for a Domestic Violence Order or responding to one, our skilled and highly-experienced lawyers can help you.
Applying for a Protection Order
If you are the victim of domestic violence we can:
- Help you prepare and file your application for a Protection Order;
- Appear on your behalf at the interim hearing to obtain an urgent Temporary Protection Order;
- Communicate and negotiate the terms/conditions on your behalf;
- Prepare and file Affidavits of evidence in support of your application; and
- Appear at the final hearing before the Court and obtain a final Protection Order.
Orders that we can help you obtain include:
- An order for the perpetrator to vacate your home;
- An order preventing the perpetrator from committing further acts of domestic violence against you;
- An order containing certain prohibitions, such as coming within a certain distance of you, contacting you or locating you.
Responding to an Application for a Protection Order
If you are a respondent to an application for a Protection Order, we can:
- Appear on your behalf at the interim hearing to defend any application for a Temporary Protection Order;
- Communicate and negotiate a desired outcome on your behalf;
- Consider and provide you with advice as to whether a cross application seeking an order for your protection is necessary or required;
- Prepare and file Affidavits of evidence to defend any application against you and/or in support of your cross application; and
- Appear at the final hearing before the Court and defend any application against you and/or obtain a final Protection Order.
Varying Domestic Violence Orders
We can also represent you if circumstances have changed or your Protection Order is due to expire, and you need a Protection Order varied or extended. In those circumstances we can:
- Prepare and file a variation application on your behalf;
- Prepare and file Affidavits of evidence in support of your variation application; and
- Appear at the variation hearing before the Court and obtain the order you need
Responding to Alleged Breaches of Domestic Violence Orders
If you are alleged to have breached a temporary or final Protection Order, we can:
- Attend police interviews with you;
- Advise you regarding the merits and potential consequences of the allegations;
- Appear on your behalf at any interim court appearances; and
- Appear at any defended hearing or sentence
Whether you’re considering applying for a Domestic Violence Order, would like to amend an Order that’s been made by a Court or would like to contest an application made against you, we can help.
At Damien Greer Lawyers, we specialise in family law, which extends to those who have experienced domestic violence.