Domestic violence occurs when one person behaves in a way that is controlling or dominating, which causes another person to have fear for their safety and wellbeing.
Often family law proceedings also involve domestic violence matters.
If you have fears for your safety and wellbeing, or that of your children, you may wish to apply to the court for a protection order. A temporary protection order is also available if your fears are immediate.
An application for a protection order is usually heard at your local Magistrates Court.
The applicant may be an aggrieved party or the police. The respondent is the person against whom the application is made.
You must satisfy the court of the following 3 conditions in order to obtain a protection order:
1. A relevant relationship exists between the parties
The following are examples of “relevant relationships”:
2. The respondent has committed domestic violence
Domestic violence may not be physical. Examples of behaviour that may constitute domestic violence include:
3. A protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved party from harm
This stage involves the consideration of:
If the court is satisfied of the above test, a protection order may be granted which sets out conditions or “rules” that the respondent must obey.
All protection orders include the condition that the respondent be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved or any other person named in the order.
An aggrieved party can ask for additional conditions which may include:
Varying a Protection Order
Both parties to a protection order may apply to the court to make changes to the order. This may include:
Defending an Application for Protection Order
There are a number of options available to a person who is defending an application for a protection order. These include:
Breach of a Protection Order
The courts treat domestic violence matters seriously. Having a protection order against you is a civil matter and is not recorded on your criminal record.
However a breach of a protection order is a criminal offence, which may result in you having a criminal record.
If you are a party to an application for protection it is important that you obtain advice as soon as possible to protect your safety and wellbeing. Often matters can be resolved by
agreement without proceeding through the court system further.
The immediate risk for a respondent is a criminal charge arising from a technical breach which could have long-term consequences. For this reason it is advisable to know of your obligations and rights early in the process.
With over 20 years of combined experience in domestic violence matters, we can advise you of your options and the best steps to move your matter forward to a final outcome.
Knowing your rights and the steps you can take is just a phone call away.