As a domestic violence lawyer with over ten years’ experience in family law, we can assist you in the domestic violence related matters. Below you can find some useful information about domestic violence. If you need professional advice, please call us: (07)34659332 or request a call back using online enquiry form provided here.
What is DVO?
A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is a Protection Order made by a Court that sets out rules that the respondent (the person who has committed domestic violence against you) must obey.
The purpose of a DVO is to keep the aggrieved (the person who has experienced domestic violence) safe by restraining the respondent from committing acts of domestic violence. It can also include a wide variety of other conditions, such as prohibitions against the respondent from going within a certain distance of the home or workplace of the aggrieved, approaching relatives or friends of the aggrieved (if named in the order) or going to a child’s school or day care centre.
What behaviours’ are considered domestic violence?
Domestic violence includes a wide range of behaviours that control or dominate another person and causes fear for their safety and wellbeing.
Domestic violence includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, economic abuse, threats, intimidation and coercive and controlling behaviour.
For more information as to what specific behaviour falls within the definition of domestic violence, check out the Qld Courts Page.
Who can apply for a Domestic Violence Order?
In order to apply for a protection order and for the behaviour to be considered domestic violence, the violence you have been exposed must have occurred in any of the following relationships:
- An intimate personal relationship;
- A family relationship;
- An informal care relationship (for example one person who is or was depending on another person for help with daily living activities where the person is not a paid carer).
Types of DVOs
There are two types of Domestic Violence Orders, including a Protection Order and a Temporary Protection Order.
A protection order is a DVO made by a Magistrate in Court. It is usually made for a period of five years or it may be made for a shorter or longer period if the Court considers it appropriate.
A Temporary Protection Order is a DVO made urgently for the protection of the aggrieved for a shorter period of time (usually a couple of months), until a Final Hearing. Magistrates’ cannot making findings of fact (i.e. they cannot determine who is telling the truth and who is not) until a Final Hearing. Temporary Protection Orders are therefore commonly made until such time as the Final Hearing can take place, when the Magistrate has the ability to assess the evidence in full, listen to cross-examination of the parties and determine your application for a Protection Order.
How do I file a Domestic Violence Order Application?
You can file a domestic violence order application in your local magistrates Court.
The Application can be accessed on the Queensland Courts website.
I have filed a Domestic Violence Order Application. What happens now?
After your application is filed, it will be served by the police on the other party. In some circumstances, a temporary DVO will be made prior to the first ‘Mention’ date.
Once your application for a DVO is filed, you will receive a date for your first court appearance, which you are required to attend.
If the police apply for a DVO on your behalf, a police prosecutor will prosecute the application for you in court.
If you have engaged a lawyer, they will represent you in Court.
Your first court appearance is called a Mention. Your matter will be listed for the first Mention within a couple of weeks of your application being filed.
At the Mention, the Magistrate will ask you some questions about your application.
What do I need to prove to obtain a Domestic Violence Order?
To succeed in your application for a DVO, you need to be able to show the court that you are:
- In a relevant relationship (see above ‘Who can apply for a DVO’);
- experiencing domestic violence (see above ‘What behaviours are considered domestic violence’);
- In need of protection i.e. that an order is necessary or desirable to protect you from future domestic violence by the respondent.
The Court can make a DVO if a respondent consents to a DVO being made or otherwise, if a court determines at a Final Hearing that an order is necessary and/or desirable to protect the aggrieved from the respondent.
The most important factor the court will consider in determining whether an order is necessary and desirable to protect you from the respondent is whether there is extensive evidence to show that the risk of future domestic violence is significant in all circumstances. If the risk is deemed to be significant, then to make a domestic violence order is necessary and desirable. The Following cases are relevant to how a Magistrate determines these issues: GKE v EUT QDC 248 and TJA v TJF  QDC 244.
Do I need a Lawyer to represent me?
It is always advisable to seek legal advice when lodging an application for a DVO against another party, in order to maximise prospects of success.
We can advise you as to whether your application contains sufficient information to satisfy a Court that an order is necessary and desirable to protect you from the respondent. If further information or evidence is required to further the prospects of success of your application, we can point you in the right direction and help update your documents, so that the Court is more likely to grant you a DVO in the terms you are asking the Court to make.
It is very important that your application and your affidavit (filed prior to a Trial) is prepared with particular specificity in relation to the allegations you have made, otherwise your application may be thrown out or unsuccessful.
We are experienced in preparing these types of applications and affidavits and can help you to obtain orders necessary to protect your safety and your children’s safety.
We can also assist by representing you in court and negotiating an agreement with the other party so as to avoid the necessity for a Trial.
What happens if someone files a Domestic Violence Order Application against me?
If someone lodges an application for a domestic violence order against you, you are the ‘respondent’. A police officer will give you a copy of the application. You should read the application carefully. The application against you will include all the allegations made against you by the aggrieved and a date and time that you are required to attend court.
If you receive an application and fail to attend court, the court is able to make a protection order or a temporary protection order against you in your absence. A Magistrate may also issue a warrant for the police to arrest you and bring you to court.
You can object to a Domestic Violence Order being made against you and have the matter adjourned (postponed) for a Final Hearing at a later date.
Your main options include:
- Ask for an adjournment while you seek legal advice, in which case a Temporary DVO will most likely be made to protect the aggrieved until the next court date;
- Consent to the DVO being made, without admitting to the facts alleged against you or that you have committed domestic violence;
- Disagree with making the protection order, in which case the Magistrate will list the matter for a Hearing to determine the application. A Temporary DVO may be made until the Final Hearing:
- If the other party agrees to withdraw their application, you can sign an undertaking (promise) to the court which can be on the same or similar conditions to the protection Order.
The last option is the best option in the case that a protection order application is filed against you as it means the protection order application is withdrawn. Breach of an undertaking also does not have the same severe consequences as breach of a DVO.
Breaches of an order
If the respondent breaches any of the conditions in the DVO in place for your safety, you should call the police immediately.
The police will investigate the domestic violence and have the power to charge the respondent with breaching the DVO.
It is a criminal offence to disobey any of the conditions in a DVO. If you are found guilty of breaching a condition of a DVO, you may be charged with a criminal offence and you may face up to three years in jail for a first offence, and up to five years in jail if you breach the DVO again within five years.
Want more information?
If you are seeking more information, check out the following links:
- Family Violence Orders
- What is family violence;
- The effect of family violence on children
- Where to get help
If you need to make an application for a Domestic Violence Order, or if somebody has made an application for a DVO against you, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from one of our experienced Brisbane family lawyers immediately.