If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can apply for a Domestic Violence Order (DVO). A DVO sets out the conditions that must be obeyed by the person who has committed the Domestic Violence (“the Respondent”).
When applying for a DVO, you can either have a police officer, lawyer, friend or family member apply for you, or you can apply for a DVO yourself. If you are in danger currently, at the time of filing your application, you can apply for a Temporary Protection Order which if granted, will come into effect immediately and remain in place until the matter can be finalised by way of a final Protection Order being made or the Application being withdrawn/dismissed.
Once you have lodged your application for a DVO, the Police will serve the Respondent with a copy of the Application so that they know what has been said and can respond in Court. If the Respondent does not consent to the DVO being made against them on a final basis (which is usually for a 5 year period), they have the right to contest the Application, and the Court will then list the Application for a Final Hearing to determine whether to make a DVO.
Before making a final Protection Order, the Court must be satisfied that:
- A relevant relationship exists;
- That the Respondent has committed Domestic Violence against the Aggrieved; and
- the Protection Order is necessary and desirable to protect the Aggrieved from domestic violence.
A relevant relationship includes:
- an intimate personal relationship (for example, a spousal relationship, and engagement relationship or a couple relationship whether current or former);
- a family relationship (a relative of the other including a child 18 years or older, a stepchild, parent, stepparent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, nephew, mother-in-law etc); or
- an informal care relationship (where 1 person is or was dependent on the other person, the carer, for help in an activity of daily living).
The meaning of Domestic Violence is wide and includes behaviour by one person (the Respondent) to the other person (the Aggrieved) that is:
- physically or sexually abusive; or
- is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
- is economically abusive; or
- is threatening; or
- is coercive; or
- in any other way controls or dominates the Aggrieved and causes the Aggrieved to fear for their safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.
In addition to the Aggrieved, a DVO can protect other persons, such as a child of the Aggrieved, a child who usually lives with the Aggrieved, a relative of the Aggrieve and/or an associate to the Aggrieved.
Whilst a DVO is initially a civil order between two people, if a Respondent breaches the DVO by failing to comply with the conditions set out in the DVO made against them, the Respondent may be charged with committing a criminal offence and will need to appear in Court.
For assistance in applying for a Domestic Violence Order, or for responding to an Application for a DVO made against you or assistance with defending a charge for an alleged breach of a DVO, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices.