What is a Relevant Relationship?

In order to make a Protection Order or a Domestic Violence Order, the court must be satisfied that the people involved are in a ‘relevant relationship’. Here, we’ll look at how the court defines a relevant relationship and which relationships qualify.

What does the Legislation Define a ‘Relevant Relationship’ as?

Protection Orders are made in accordance with the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.

For the purposes of the legislation, a ‘relevant relationship’ will fall into one of three categories:

  • An intimate personal relationship;
  • An informal care relationship; or
  • A family relationship.

Each category is considered in greater detail below.

Intimate Personal Relationship

An intimate personal relationship includes those in:

  • a spousal relationship; or
  • an engagement relationship; or
  • a couple relationship.

A ‘spousal relationship’ includes those in existing spousal relationships or in former spousal relationships.

A ‘couple relationship’ exists between 2 persons who had a relationship together as a couple. In deciding whether a ‘couple relationship’ exists/existed, the Court will have regard to the circumstances of the relationship (including the degree of trust and dependence upon one another), the length of the relationship, the frequency of contact and the degree of intimacy between the parties.

Informal Care Relationships

Informal care relationships usually includes relationships where one person is dependent on the other for help with their everyday life. This could include the other person preparing meals for them, shopping for them or even helping them get dressed. However, informal care relationships do not include:

  • A parent-child relationship (because these are covered by family relationships);
  • People who have a commercial agreement (such as nurses), even if the person receiving care does not pay for it.

Family Relationships

Family relationships typically include those who are related by blood or marriage.

However, this is a broad term and it extends to include those who may have a wider concept of a ‘relative’, for example, those in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities, members of certain communities with non-English speaking backgrounds, and people with particular religious beliefs.

Contact Us to Learn More about Relevant Relationships

If you are not able to establish that you are in a ‘relevant relationship’ with someone, you will not be able to apply for a Domestic Violence Order or a Protection Order.  However, there may be other options for protection available to you.  

If you are experiencing domestic violence from a person that you are in a ‘relevant relationship’ with and would like advice on  applying for a Domestic Violence Order please call us on (07) 3837 5500 or get started online today. Our expert family lawyers are able to advise you on whether you are eligible to apply for a Domestic Violence Order. Plus, they will be with you at every step of the application process, from initial consultation through to the final hearing.