Domestic violence protection orders explained

Domestic violence protection orders explained

If you’re experiencing domestic or family violence, a domestic violence protection order can help protect you.

Domestic violence protection orders explained

What is a domestic violence protection order?

A domestic violence protection order is made by a magistrate to protect people living in domestic and family violence situations. The person who the order protects is called the aggrieved. The person who the order is made against is called the respondent. The respondent must adhere to the conditions of the order. If they do not adhere to the conditions, it is called a breach. A breach must be reported to the police.

Who can apply for a domestic violence protection order?

Anyone who is experiencing violence in a relationship can apply for a domestic violence protection order. This includes intimate partner relationships (husband, wife, de facto, fiance, couple) as well as family relationships (parent, former parent, child over 18 or other relative over 18) and informal care relationships (carers).

What is domestic violence?

Domestic and family violence does not always have to be physical. Under Queensland Law domestic violence is defined as: physically or sexually abusive, emotionally or psychologically abusive, threatening, coercive, or any other way that controls or dominates the other person and causes that person to fear for their safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.

READ MORE: Types of domestic abuse

What happens if there’s a breach?

A breach is when the respondent does anything that he/she is prohibited from doing as stated in the protection order. If this occurs the aggrieved should advise the police. The police will not know if there has been a breach unless someone advises them.

Do you need evidence of abuse?

If can be helpful if you have some form of evidence if the respondent breaches the order. Evidence such as a statement from a neighbour, a medical certificate, a photograph etc. could help prove the respondent did breach the order. Keeping notes or a record of anything relating to a breach will greatly assist the police, eg. times, dates and conversations are especially important.

Keeping safe

  • Keep a copy of your protection order with you at all times.
  • Call the police immediately if the person breaches the protection order
  • If your circumstances change and your protection order becomes less effective, you may return to the court and apply for a variation to the order.
  • It can be helpful if you have some form of evidence to give the police or court; a statement from a witness, medical report or photograph etc.
  • Give a copy of your protection order to your children’s school or day care and your employer.
  • Teach your children how to ring Triple 0.
  • Practise how to get out of your home safely, identify which doors, windows would be best.
  • Identify a neighbour you can tell about the violence and ask them to call the police if they think you are in danger.
  • Devise a safety plan for arriving and leaving work/home. Use a variety of routes or have someone escort you to a bus or train.
  • Decide who you are going to tell about your current situation; workplace security, employer, neighbour, family member, friend.
  • Review your safety plan with your children so they will know what to do in an emergency.

READ MORE: Escaping domestic violence — making a safety plan