In Queensland the Domestic Violence and Family Protection Act 1989 (Qld) was created to provide protection for victims of abusive or violent relationships. The act is designed to protect both victims who reside with the other person and victims who seek an order which prohibits the other person from contacting the victim or going to their house or place of work.

Natasha Shorter, an experienced criminal lawyer and team leader for the criminal law team at Quinn & Scattini, discusses Domestic Violence Protection Orders and how they are not limited to spousal or intimate relationships.

“Domestic Violence Protection Orders are not limited to spousal or intimate relationships. They are also available to a person experiencing domestic violence in a family or carer relationship.

If you are experiencing violence you can:

  • Apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order;
  • Apply for a urgent temporary order; or
  • Make a complainant to the police to press charges.

You can apply for a protection order at your local Magistrates Court alternatively you may wish to speak with the police or a lawyer who can assist you with the application process.

Once you have lodged the application with the court, you will receive a date on which both you and the respondent will need to attend court.

When you go to court, the respondent can chose to consent to the protection order being made or disagree with the application. If the respondent disagrees with the application, the court will provide you with a court date for a hearing.

If the respondent consents to the order or if after hearing the matter the court is satisfied that there has been an act or acts of domestic violence and there is likely to be future acts of domestic violence then an order will be imposed against the respondent.

A standard Domestic Violence Protection Order requires the respondent to be of good behaviour towards the applicant and not commit acts of domestic violence. If the court deem necessary they may impose special conditions, including a condition that the respondent not approach within a certain distance of the applicant/aggrieved.

An order will normally be made for two years, commencing from the date of court. The aggrieved can apply during this period to have the order varied, revoked or extended.

It is a criminal offence for a respondent to breach a Domestic Violence Protection Order. This is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment or a $4000.00 fine for first time offenders. The offender also risks having a conviction recorded on their criminal history.”