If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, it’s important to surround yourself with a number of support networks, including obtaining specialist legal advice.Back to our practice Areas
Similarly, if you need to respond to a domestic violence order made against you, you should obtain legal advice as soon as possible.
What is domestic and family violence?
Domestic and family violence takes on many forms. It’s a common misconception that it references only physical violence, however this is not the case.
Domestic and family violence includes other forms of violence including:
- sexual abuse
- emotional or psychological abuse
- economic or financial abuse
- threatening or coercive behaviour
- behaviour that controls or dominates the other person, causing fear for their safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of another person
Other forms of domestic and family violence include behaviours that cause injury to a person or their property, threatening to self-harm or commit suicide, and unauthorised surveillance of a person. Examples can range from reading a person’s text messages, monitoring a person’s email account or internet history, and/or using a device to track their movements.
What relationships are covered under domestic and family violence?
Domestic and family violence relates specifically to what the applicable legislation calls “relevant relationships”.
An intimate personal relationship, including former partners and a parent of your children
A family relationship, including relatives through blood or marriage
An informal care relationship, where a person is dependent on another to assist them with daily activities like cooking or dressing
A protection order or “Domestic Violence Order” (“DVO”) is a legal method of protection to stop threats or acts of domestic violence by putting limits on the alleged perpetrator’s behaviour. What that behaviour is will depend on your unique circumstances and can include stopping the person from going to your home or workplace, trying to locate you, or having any contact with you or others named on the order (including children).
I need help applying for a domestic violence order
If you find yourself in danger, you should immediately contact the police on 000. They will be the quickest and most effective responders and will be able to provide you with immediate assistance.
In some situations, police may then elect to issue a notice preventing the perpetrator from having contact with you for a period of time, or they may apply for a protection order on your behalf. Either way, the help they provide will be prompt and should be your first point of call if you are in danger.
Personal safety and wellbeing is a fundamental right. Any threat to that for you or your children is a very serious matter.
Reaching out for help in a situation of domestic and family violence can be difficult and often takes courage, especially when you second guess yourself and wonder what others will think about you and your situation. Fear, anger, and frustration can also be present if you find yourself in this situation.
In our experience as family lawyers, we have seen and heard a lot of things. Our job is to care for, support, and protect you as you grow towards a bright new future. It is not to judge you, or any part of your current or prior relationship.
Reach out to our team of experienced domestic violence lawyers today for a confidential, no-obligation discussion about your situation and the options available.
I need help responding to a domestic violence order
If you are named as the respondent (commonly referred to as the defendant) in an application for a protection order, you are able to respond.
Given the heightened emotions that go hand in hand with separation and orders of this nature, it is wise to seek advice from an experienced domestic and family violence lawyer to assist with your response. We can approach the situation from the outside and respond accordingly without the influence of those heightened emotions.
What happens when a DVO application isn’t true?
Unfortunately this is a very real situation and we often see these types of orders, which are actually designed to protect people in need, being used as a weapon against a former partner, especially where a parenting dispute exists.
You are able to defend yourself if you are named in an application for a protection order, and it’s crucial that you seek legal advice from an expert domestic violence lawyer. If the claims are found to be false or vexatious, this can reflect poorly on the other party’s ability to support a relationship between the children and you in future family law proceedings.
Protection orders are intended as just that and should never be used to try and influence a certain outcome regarding the future care and wellbeing of your children.
Our team of expert domestic and family violence lawyers are here to help.
Whether you’re the one seeking the protection order or the one named as a respondent, there are plenty of resources available to you.