Family Violence (Domestic Violence Orders)
In Queensland, a Protection Order is a civil order made by a court (the Magistrates Court) setting out conditions that the Respondent (the person who has committed domestic or family violence) must comply with for the safety of the Aggrieved (victim of the violent behaviour).
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act defines domestic violence as:
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Emotional and psychological abuse
- Economic abuse
- Threatening or coercive behaviour
- Any other behaviour that controls or dominates a person and causes them to fear for their safety or wellbeing.
In order to apply for a Protection Order, you must be in a ‘relevant relationship’ with the person who is committing the domestic violence. A ‘relevant relationship’ is an intimate personal relationship (husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, same sex relationships), a family relationship (spouse, child, step-child, parent, step-parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, sibling, in-laws), or an informal care relationship (where one person is dependent on the other for assistance with daily living).
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you can apply for a Protection Order yourself, or if you report it to the police, the police can make an application on your behalf. Police can make an application on your behalf at their own discretion, which means that even if you do not want them to make an application, or later ask them to withdraw an application, they can continue with it anyway for your own safety.
Protection Orders impose two standard conditions on the Respondent – to be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence. These are general obligations placed on all members of society and not particularly restrictive. If the Order made contains only the two standard conditions, the Respondent can still approach you, have contact with any children the two of you may have together, even remain living with you.
If you want extra conditions to ensure your safety, or that of your children, you can apply for orders which prohibit the Respondent from approaching you, communicating with you, entering your workplace or home, entering your child’s school, asking other people to approach you or communicate with you, etc. There are exceptions to these conditions, which are generally only allowed to be added to the Protection Order if you and the Respondent have children, and the Respondent is required to approach you at changeover or to contact your regarding the children.
In most cases, a Protection Order will remain in place for 5 years, unless the Respondent can demonstrate to the Court that it is not necessary or desirable that the Order last that long.
If someone has applied for a Protection Order naming you as the Respondent, there are several options available to you. You can:
- Consent to the making of the making of the order
- Consent without admission to the making of the order
- Contest the order being made
If a Respondent contests an order being made, the application will be listed for a trial. During a trial, the evidence of the parties and their witnesses will be tested by each witness being cross examined by the other party’s legal representative. After each witness has given evidence, and that evidence has been tested, the judge will make a final decision about whether a Protection Order should be made or not.
Family violence is a serious issue and the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court will take allegations of domestic violence into serious consideration when determining parenting arrangements for children.
Our family lawyers can assist you with:
- Filing or responding to a Domestic Violence Order
- Representing you in Court
- Negotiations between parties mentioned in a DVO
- Provide you with advice regarding allegations of domestic violence and the impact of any parenting arrangements or parenting orders currently in place
Contact us to make an appointment with one of our family lawyers. We can meet with you in person or by phone.