Domestic violence has been at the forefront of focus in Queensland. As media attention towards this contentious issue continues to mount, the Queensland Government is expected to introduce tougher laws to combat coercive control and strengthen protection for victims. As this focus on strengthening domestic violence laws will likely continue, if you are ever in a position where you are responding to allegations of domestic violence, it is crucial that you get legal advice immediately.
The team from Beavon Lawyers has many years of experience in this field, and our lawyers appear at domestic violence courts right across Queensland. In protecting your rights and resolving your matter in the best way possible, our lawyers will be by your side every step of the way.
For fearless domestic violence allegation defence, get in touch with the criminal defence lawyers from Beavon Lawyers today. Give us a call on 1800 558 533 or get in touch online to request a free consultation.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence has a broad definition, and the term encompasses a range of behaviours and actions. Broadly speaking, domestic violence occurs when someone is physically or emotionally abusive to a family member, or someone that they are in a relationship with. Some examples of domestic violence can include physical violence, threats and verbal abuse, stopping someone from leaving the house, or restricting someone’s access to their money. You will note that domestic violence encompasses a far greater range of behaviour than just physical violence, and in our experience, courts generally will apply a broad interpretation to the term.
What Is a Domestic Violence Protection Order?
A domestic violence protection order is an order made by the court against the person responding to the order, known as the respondent. These orders generally require the respondent to be of good behaviour to the other party, and not commit any further acts of domestic violence. These orders generally last for a period of five years.
Sometimes, the court may deem it necessary to include additional terms on the order. Two examples of this include the respondent being prohibited from contacting the other party, or approaching them or their residence. Additionally, people can apply to include other parties on the order, for instance, their children. This will extend the operation of the order to protect those parties as well.
Who Can Apply For A Domestic Violence Protection Order?
Domestic violence law is focused on violence that mainly occurs in the family home. As such, a person can apply for a domestic violence order against the following categories of people:
- A current or former partner – this includes couples that are married, de-facto, or recently separated or divorced.
- A family member – for instance, parents, siblings, or relatives.
- A carer, where the other person is dependent on them.
The person seeking protection is known at law as the aggrieved. An aggrieved can lodge an application by attending their nearest Magistrates Court. People will often report incidents of domestic violence to the police. The police may then decide to apply for a domestic violence protection order on behalf of the aggrieved.
Your Options – Protecting Your Rights
Regardless of whether you are responding to a private application, or the police decide to serve you, your matter will be listed for a court date at the Magistrates Court. You may also receive a temporary order, or a police notice, that you must obey in the meantime. When you attend the court for your first appearance, you will have three options:
You can decide to consent to the terms of the application and agree to the order. In this case, the Court will make the order as per the terms, naming you as the respondent and finalising the matter.
You can elect to contest the order, and argue why it should not be made. In this case, your matter will be listed for a hearing date for the matter to be determined.
You can indicate that you wish to adjourn the matter, so that you can obtain legal advice before making a decision. If you are attending court and you have not yet spoken to a lawyer, we recommend taking this course.
Responding to a Domestic Violence Protection Order
A domestic violence protection order is a civil order of the court, meaning that it is not a criminal proceeding, and you are not convicted of any criminal offence if an order is made. Furthermore, when consenting, you can do so without admissions. This means that you are indicating to the court that you agree to be bound by the terms of the order, but do not necessarily accept any of the allegations.
This does not mean that being bound by a domestic violence protection order is without consequence. You should consider this carefully, and obtain legal advice. You may need a lawyer to negotiate some of the terms of the order, so that the implications on you and your life are minimised. Furthermore, if you breach the terms of the order, you may be charged with the criminal offence of Contravention of Domestic Violence Protection Order, in which case the consequences may be much more severe.
It is for these reasons that people are often daunted when going to court and responding to domestic violence allegations. At Beavon Lawyers, we appear at domestic violence courts on a daily basis. If you are unsure of your circumstances, our team will discuss your options with you openly, and guide you through the process every step of the way. In helping achieving the best outcome possible, the friendly staff at Beavon Lawyers are always there to assist.
Trust Beavon Lawyers for Ruthless Defence
For fearless defence from Brisbane’s leading DV lawyers, get in touch with Beavon Lawyers today. For any inquiries, or to organise a free consultation, give our office a call on 1800 558 533 or get in touch online.