The purpose of a Protection Order, often referred to as Domestic Violence Order (or a DVO), is to prevent domestic or family violence from occurring in the future. As the Aggrieved person named on a Protection Order, there are a number of steps that you can take to maximise the level of protection afforded to you by a Protection Order.
Understand the Conditions of the Order
Every Protection Order will include the standard condition that the Respondent be of good behaviour towards you, and not commit domestic violence against you. This condition will also apply to the protection of your children or other persons if they are named on the Order. Domestic Violence can include various forms of abuse including physical, sexual, emotional and psychological, financial, or other forms of threatening or coercing behaviour.
In addition to the standard condition, the Protection Order may include additional conditions, including (but not limited to) prohibiting the Respondent from:
- entering or approaching your residence, your workplace, or somewhere you are staying;
- approaching you;
- contacting you;
- attending your child’s school or day care; or
- attempting to locate you.
The wording of the conditions and the duration of the Order may vary from Order to Order based upon your specific circumstances, and may also include exceptions to the conditions. By obtaining legal advice and having a clear understanding of the conditions that are included on your Protection Order, you are in a better position to plan for your safety.
Keep Records and Report Breaches
Breaching a Protection Order is a criminal offence. If you think that the Protection Order has been breached, you should make a complaint to the Police, as they have a duty to investigate the breach. If the Respondent is breaching the conditions of the Order and you are in immediate danger you should call the Police immediately on ‘000’.
To assist the Police with their investigation, you should keep thorough records of each breach, including for example:
- Diarise the details of the breach as soon as possible after it has occurred, including the time, date, venue, and location of the breach, and details of the incident including what happened and/or what was said or done;
- Take screenshots of any relevant text messages, social media messages or posts, and/or your call history;
- Record any voice messages left on your phone;
- Keep any photographs that you have of the breach.
If you believe that the Police Officer did not take your complaint of a breach seriously, or did not act on your complaint, then you should:
- Contact your local Police station and request to speak with the officer in charge, or the Police Domestic Liaison Officer; and/or
- Obtain legal advice in relation to the breach.
Follow the Conditions of the Order
As the Aggrieved person named on a Protection Order, you should always try to comply with the conditions of the Order. For example, if the Protection Order prohibits the Respondent from:
- Contacting you by telephone or text message, you should not contact them by telephone or text message either;
- Approaching within 100 metres of you, you should not deliberately approach them, or attend at their residence or workplace.
Even though the Police are unable to charge you for failing to comply with a condition of the Protection Order that names you as the Aggrieved, it will make it more difficult for the Police to prove that the Respondent has breached the Protection Order.
No matter how minor a breach may seem, it is important that you report all breaches to the Police to ensure your safety and maximise the level of protection afforded by the Order. If you are unsure about whether a breach has occurred, seek legal advice to clarify any questions you have.
While these measures will help with protecting you and possibly your children once a Protection Order is granted the process of getting such an Order in place can be extremely daunting and potentially overwhelming. Find out how to apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order in this article.
Our team of experienced family law lawyers will prioritise any instances of domestic and family violence and support you in gaining a Protection Order as a matter of priority, your safety and wellbeing are of the utmost importance to us as well. Contact our offices to speak confidentially with one of our family lawyers.