Protection from Domestic Violence

Date: Aug 22, 2010
Document Type: Article

Domestic violence is commonly thought of as physical abuse. However, it can also include other conduct such as sexual, emotional or psychological abuse.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can apply to a court for an apprehended violence order, which is a restraining order placing restrictions on the conduct of the perpetrator towards you. The application can be made by:

  • anyone over the age of 18;
  • a parent, guardian or child welfare officer on behalf of a child;
  • a police officer on behalf of any child or adult.

In most cases, an application for an apprehended violence order can be made in person at a Local Court. Sometimes an application can be made during other court proceedings, such as criminal cases.  Otherwise, an application for an apprehended violence order can be made on your behalf by police upon a complaint to the police about the perpetrators conduct towards you.

In order to obtain an apprehended  violence order, it is necessary to prove either that the person has already committed an act of abuse against you and is likely to do so again, or that the person is likely to act in a way that could make you fear they will commit an act of abuse. In domestic cases, the kind of behaviour that the court will consider includes:

  • acts of violence, assault or injury to the person;
  • property damage;
  • injury to pets;
  • kidnapping;
  • threats;
  • intimidating, offensive or emotionally abusive behaviour;
  • stalking.
Before making an apprehended violence order, the court is required to consider a number of factors. The main objectives for the court involve:
  • protecting people from violent behaviour;
  • preventing people from behaving in a way that makes others fear for their safety; and
  • protecting the welfare of children.

In addition, the court will also consider where the people involved live, the impact the order would have on the respondent and the terms of any parenting orders concerning arrangements for children.

How can an apprehended violence order protect you? The court can impose whatever measures it thinks are necessary to protect people from violent behaviour. This can include restraining someone from:

  • being near the place you live or work, or any other particular place;
  • coming within a certain distance of you;
  • contacting you in any way, including by telephone, in writing or by text message;
  • preventing you from using personal property regardless of who owns the item;
  • getting anyone else to do any of the things listed above; and
  • having or getting a gun or licence for a gun.

For assistance with Family Law matters, phone Dominic Wilson, Managing Partner of Craddock Murray Neumann, on (02) 82684000. We have Family Lawyers who are certified by the Law Society of New South Wales as Accredited Specialists in Family Law. 

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