Even though everyone’s right to live without fear of abuse or violence is indisputable, the sad reality is many people in Australia are victims of domestic violence in some way or another. One of the most important ways of countering domestic violence is to remove you from unfavorable situations. A quick look at what constitutes domestic violence and how to deal with it with a domestic violence protection order:
Signs of Domestic Violence
Even though most people associate domestic violence with physical or sexual abuse inflicted by one family member on another, several non-physical behaviors also amount to domestic violence. These include threats that make you fearsome of personal safety, psychological or emotional abuse, forcing you to do what you do not want to do, financial abuse, etc. Some actions that contribute to an abusive domestic environment include physical aggression, close watch on your movements, restricting your movement, restricting access to money, verbal intimidation, etc. If you are experiencing any of these behaviors and are afraid for your personal safety or that of a loved one, you should seek legal protection.
Application for Domestic Violence Order
If you believe you are a victim of domestic violence, you can apply for a domestic violence order. The order has different names in different places, and the application process also differs. You should consult an experienced family lawyer before applying for a domestic violence order because you must follow the correct procedure and be able to provide all the details to make your case effective. You should supplement your application with evidence of the suffered abuse, like photos of injuries inflicted on you, testimonies from witnesses, emails, text messages, social media posts, telephone calls, voicemail, etc. You must sign the application with a qualified witness present and submitted to the court physically. You cannot apply online, says a senior family law attorney at Strategic Law Townsville.
What Happens After Applying
After applying for a domestic violence order, the court will give you a date, usually one month later. During the first court appearance, the magistrate verifies that the respondent has received the application and if he or she agrees or disputes it. If the respondent agrees with the order, the magistrate will issue the final domestic violence order, which will remain effective for five years. The respondent may also seek an adjournment, in which case, you should ask for a temporary protection order. If the respondent opposes the order, you will need to appear at a contested hearing on a date decided by the court. The court can issue a final domestic violence order if the respondent does not appear in court and also order the respondent’s arrest. According to The Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government, the order is enforceable across all states and territories in Australia.
In case of a contested hearing, both parties should exchange affidavits with each other, including testimonies and supporting evidence. Lawyers representing both sides will ask you and the respondent questions and submit evidence. The judge may issue a protection order after satisfying himself with the occurrence of domestic violence.