Our community’s focus on domestic and family violence has certainly heightened in recent years. Queensland’s Domestic and Family Violence Act was introduced in 2012, and several amendments have been made since that time, so as to provide a robust framework within which lawyers, the police and the Court work to ensure victims of domestic violence are appropriately protected.
The definition of domestic violence in the Act is broad – domestic violence is not just about physical violence, it can also include emotional abuse, verbal abuse, stalking behaviour, threatening behaviour, economic abuse, intimidation and harassment. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to understand the avenues available to you to seek assistance and ensure you are receiving the protection that you need.
Similarly, if you are in a position where a partner or former partner is alleging you have committed an act of domestic violence, you may wish to seek assistance to defend what you believe to be unfounded allegations.
A victim of domestic violence may bring an Application for a Protection Order in their local Magistrates Court, or the police may bring the application on the victim’s behalf. The Court is then required to consider three elements:
Whether there is or has been a “relevant relationship” between the victim and the alleged perpetrator – this may be an intimate personal relationship, an informal care relationship or a family relationship; and
Whether domestic violence has actually occurred; and
Whether it is “necessary and desirable” for an order to be in place to protect the victim from further acts of domestic violence.