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Domestic Violence Offences

Domestic violence is more than just physical violence and includes a variety of behaviours which are controlling, dominating, or cause a person to fear for their safety or wellbeing.

Domestic Violence refers to “violence” that occurs within a relevant relationship.  Some types of behaviour that are considered domestic violence include:-

  • physical or sexual abuse;
  • emotional or psychological abuse;
  • economic abuse (or financial control);
  • threatening behaviour; and
  • coercive behaviour.

It can be upsetting to have allegations of domestic violence made against you.  We will provide you with easy to understand advice to allow you to make an informed decision about your matter.  We are also able to appear on your behalf and ensure the Court understands your circumstances, and your side of the story.

We can assist you with:

Breach of a
Protection Order

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Responding to an Application for a Protection Order

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Applying for a
Protection Order

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Other Domestic
Violence Offences

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Aggravated
Offences

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Bail
Applications

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What is a Protection Order?

If there have been incidents of domestic violence, an Application for a Protection Order (often referred to as a “DVO”) may be filed.  The Applicant in an Application for a Protection Order can be either the person wanting the Protection Order to be made or an authorised person, such as a Police Officer, who is acting on their behalf.

The person who will be primarily protected by the Protection Order is known as the Aggrieved.   The person who the Protection Order will affect is known as the Respondent.

A Protection Order requires the Respondent to be of good behaviour towards the Aggrieved and not commit acts of domestic violence against the Aggrieved.  The Protection Order may also include other conditions, such as a condition to:-

  1. prohibit the Respondent from contacting the Aggrieved;
  2. prevent the Respondent from attending the Aggrieved’s house;
  3. stop the Respondent from locating the Aggrieved.

You can find out more about Protection Orders, and the process for making, or responding to, an Application for a Protection Order below.

Applying for a Protection Order

If you have been experiencing domestic violence, you may wish to make an Application for a Protection Order (often referred to as a “DVO”).

It is important to seek legal advice to assist you in making an Application.  The process can be emotional and stressful, and we will help you understand the process and will speak on your behalf when you are at Court.  We will help you prepare your material for Hearing and ensure all relevant material is provided to the Court.

Please contact our office if you would like any further information about making an Application for Domestic Violence Order.

Responding to an Application for a Protection Order

It can be very confronting to be named as the Respondent in an Application for a Protection Order.  It is difficult to read allegations about yourself, particularly if you do not agree with the allegations or believe the Aggrieved is attempting to use the Application for a Protection Order to further another agenda.

You should seek legal advice if you are the Respondent to an Application for a Protection Order.  We are able to explain the allegations to you and ensure you understand your options when responding to the Application for a Protection Order.  We will also explain the practical impact having a Protection Order may have on you, should the Protection Order be issued.

If you have been named as the Respondent in an Application for a Protection Order, please contact our experienced lawyers to discuss your matter

Breach of a Protection Order

You may be charged with breaching a Protection Order if you do not comply with the conditions of a Protection Order naming you as the Respondent.

Although an Application for a Protection Order is a civil matter, contravening a Protection Order is a criminal matter.  The offence may appear on your criminal history if you are convicted of breaching the Protection Order.  This can have an impact on you in the future.

The penalty that will be imposed is dependent on the facts of your matter and your previous history.  It is particularly important you obtain legal advice if there are allegations you threatened or used violence against the Aggrieved.  These circumstances are likely to result in a higher penalty being imposed.

Which Court will my matter be heard before?

Your matter will be heard before the Magistrates Court.

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What is the penalty for breaching a Protection Order?

The maximum penalty for breaching a Protection Order is a fine of 120 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty increases if you have been convicted of breaching a Protection Order in the past 5 years.  In these circumstances, the offence is considered an “aggravated offence”.  The penalty increases to a fine of 240 penalty units or a period of imprisonment of 5 years.

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Will the Protection Order stay the same?

In addition to any other penalty imposed, the presiding Magistrate is able to vary the Protection Order if you are convicted of breaching the Protection Order.  The presiding Magistrate can extend the duration of the Protection Order, or add further conditions to protect the Aggrieved.  The changes can be made regardless of whether you consent to the Protection Order being varied.

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Do I need a lawyer?

You should seek legal advice if you are charged with breaching a Protection Order.  The penalties for breaching a Protection Order can be significant.  This is particularly true if there is an allegation you threatened or used violence against the Aggrieved.  These allegations will ordinarily result in a higher penalty being imposed.

In addition to having a penalty imposed on you, the Protection Order may be varied at the conclusion of your matter.  We are able to advise you as to the variation likely to be sought and the impact on you.  We will ensure you properly understand your obligations should the Protection Order be varied, to prevent further breaches.

We are able to explain your matter to you and ensure you understand the charge, the likely penalty and your options for progressing the matter.  We are able to appear on your behalf and ensure the Court understands any mitigating features in your favour.  This can result in a lesser penalty being imposed.  We are also able to seek (in certain circumstances) that no conviction be recorded on your criminal history.  This can minimise the impact of this offence on your future.

Our solicitors are available to provide advice about your matter, and the penalties likely to apply to you.  Please contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

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Other Domestic Violence Offences

There are three offences that directly relate to breaching a domestic violence condition, being:-

  1. breach of a Protection Order;
  2. breach of a release condition; and
  3. breach of a Police Protection Notice (PPN).

You can read more about breaching a Protection Order here.

However, any offence that occurs in a domestic setting can be flagged as a “domestic violence offence”.  The offence occurring in a domestic setting is an aggravating factor, and the inclusion of this allegation will ordinarily result in a higher penalty being imposed on you.  The offence will also be noted as a domestic violence offence on your criminal history.

You should seek legal advice if you are charged with an aggravated offence.  We are able to explain the allegations to you, and ensure you understand the charge.  We will provide you with easy to understand advice and discuss your options for progressing the matter with you.  We are able to appear on your behalf and ensure the Court understands any mitigating features in your favour.  This can result in a lesser penalty being imposed.

Breaching a Police Protection Notice (PPN)

A Police Protection Notice (PPN) may be issued by a Police Officer if the officer reasonably believes a person has committed an act of domestic violence.  The purpose of the PPN is to provide the Aggrieved with temporary protection until the matter is able to be heard before a Court.

The PPN will require the Respondent to be of good behaviour towards the Aggrieved and not commit acts of domestic violence against the Aggrieved.  The PPN may also include further conditions, such as preventing the Respondent from contacting or approaching the Aggrieved.

It is an offence to breach the PPN.

The maximum penalty for breaching a PPN is a fine of 120 penalty units or a period of imprisonment of three years.  In addition to having a penalty imposed on you, the presiding Magistrate may issue a Protection Order at the conclusion of your matter.  You can find out more about Protection Orders here.

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Breaching Release Conditions

There are some circumstances where you may be placed into custody, and subsequently released subject to ‘release conditions’.  The release conditions can include a requirement to not approach or contact the Aggrieved.  The release conditions are designed to protect the Aggrieved until the matter is able to be heard before a Court.

You may be charged with an offence if you do not comply with your release conditions.  The maximum penalty for breaching release conditions is a fine of 120 penalty units or a period of imprisonment of three years.  In addition to having a penalty imposed on you, the presiding Magistrate may issue a Protection Order at the conclusion of your matter.  You can find out more about Protection Orders here.

Our experienced criminal law solicitors are able to provide advice about your charge, the process and the penalties likely to apply to you.

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Aggravated Offences

You will be charged with an aggravated offence if you have been convicted of breaching a Protection Order within the last 5 years.  The maximum penalty for an aggravated offence is a fine of 240 penalty units or a period of imprisonment for 5 years.

You should seek legal advice if you are charged with an aggravated offence.  The penalties are more severe, and there may be a concern that your repeated breaches show a disregard for the Protection Order.  This can have a significant impact on the penalty imposed on you, and may trigger the presiding Magistrate to alter the Protection Order to impose further conditions on you.

We are able to explain the allegations to you, and ensure you understand the charge.  We will provide you with easy to understand advice and discuss your options for progressing the matter with you.  We are able to appear on your behalf and ensure the Court understands any mitigating features in your favour.  This can result in a lesser penalty being imposed.

Our experienced solicitors are available to provide advice about your matter, and the penalties likely to apply to you.

Bail Applications

It is likely you will be refused watch house bail if you are charged with an aggravated domestic violence offence.  Being charged with an aggravated domestic violence offence places you in a “show cause” bail position.  This means your bail will be refused unless you show cause that your continued detention in custody is not justified.

You should seek urgent legal advice if you, or a loved one, is in custody in relation to an aggravated domestic violence offence.  We are able to speak with our clients while in custody, and see our client at the watch house.  We will explain the charge, the likely penalty and the options for progressing the matter.  We are also able to provide advice, prepare and appear at an Application for Bail.

Why it’s important to get advice

There is always a range in the severity of penalty that could be imposed, even in matters where a period of mandatory imprisonment applies.  The presiding Judge or Magistrate has discretion and will impose a penalty that is appropriate in your circumstances.

We can assist by ensuring the presiding Judge or Magistrate has all of the relevant information, and is aware of your particular circumstances and mitigating factors.  This can result in you having a lesser penalty imposed.

If you would like legal advice about your matter, or for our office to represent you, please contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

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