Domestic and Family Violence Orders
Information for the Aggrieved (the person who alleges the violence or abuse)
There has been increased focus on domestic violence in the press lately as our community is setting higher standards for the conduct of parties in domestic relationships. Domestic and family violence will not be tolerated in our society and the laws have advanced greatly in this regard, particularly in the last couple of decades.
If you are the victim of domestic or family violence you can turn to the courts for protection. Applications for Domestic Violence Orders (or DVOs as they are commonly referred to) are available for anyone who is experiencing abuse. The orders are usually in place for 5 years.
Domestic violence is very broadly defined in the Domestic and Family Law Violence Protection Act 2012 and includes:
- physical abuse
- psychological abuse
- sexual abuse
- financial abuse, such as taking your money or not letting you have access to or knowledge of the family finances
- threats or coercion
- control or domination that causes a person to fear for their safety or wellbeing.
The types of orders the courts can make vary widely. The ‘standard’ condition is that the Respondent (the person against whom the order is made) be of good behaviour and not commit acts of domestic violence towards the Aggrieved (the person who is the victim of the violence or abuse). The court has the power to order the Respondent not to approach the Aggrieved, and even to leave the house (called an ‘ouster’ order). The conditions will vary on a case to case basis depending on the circumstances.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse or violence, make an appointment to see us today. We can work with you to make a time that suits you, if you are having difficulties in that regard. We have extensive expertise in the area and can provide you with clear answers and advocate for you every step of the way.
Information for the Respondent (the person responding to the Application)
Having a DVO made against you can impact on other Family Law proceedings, especially parenting matters. You can refuse to consent to an order being made against you and ask for the matter to be heard fully by the Magistrate, who will make a final decision. You may have been removed from your home or have conditions on your order that you would like varied. We can assist you with all aspects of DVOs.
If you have been served with an Application for a DVO then there are a few options for you. You can:
- agree to the order being made if you admit the acts alleged;
- agree to the order being made but make no admissions about whether or not the acts alleged actually occurred;
- you can agree to an order being made but ask for the conditions to be different to those applied for;
- you can oppose the making of the order on the basis that the alleged acts did not occur, or that the making of an order is unnecessary or undesirable in the circumstances.
If you would like assistance with your response to an applicant for a DVO please call our office and make an appointment. We will advise you of the best course of action and assist you to achieve the best possible outcome. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice prior to any court appearance with respect to your legal rights.