Every year people die from domestic and family violence, even when there has been no history of physical violence. All forms of violence and controlling and obsessive behaviours should be taken seriously. Domestic Violence is an issue that arises all too commonly during family law separation and court proceedings. Despite it receiving more and more publicity it is unfortunately the case that thousands of cases of domestic violence continue to be reported in Australia each year.
In the family law context, domestic violence can have a significant negative impact on the lives of victims, both adults and children and those close to them.
Domestic Violence – A broad definition.
Domestic violence takes many forms and is not simply limited to physical violence. Many forms of domestic violence are control driven. Domestic Violence can include:-
Emotional abuse (e.g. criticising your personality, looks or parenting skills).
Verbal abuse (e.g. yelling, shouting and swearing at you).
Stalking and harassment (e.g. constantly following or phoning you, cyberstalking or tracking you through social media.
Financial abuse (e.g. not giving you enough money to survive, or forcing you to hand over your money).
Physical abuse (e.g. slapping, hitting or pushing).
Damaging property to frighten you (e.g. punching holes in walls or breaking furniture).
Social abuse (e.g. not letting you see your friends or family, isolating you from people you care about).
Sexual abuse (e.g. forcing or coercing you to have sex).
Depriving you of the necessities of life such as food, shelter and medical care.
What to do if I am experiencing Domestic Violence
There are domestic violence laws in Queensland that make provision for your personal safety, and can protect you and your children from family violence or abuse. In Queensland it is possible to help keep a violent spouse or partner away through the issuing of a Protection Order. If, for any reason, you fear for your own safety or the safety of your children, we can advise you on obtaining a Protection Order for your safety and wellbeing and on the implication of domestic violence in relation to parenting arrangements following separation.
If at any time you’re assaulted, intimidated or harassed by your spouse, or you fear that it’s likely to happen, then action can be taken immediately under State Laws to obtain a Domestic Violence Order or a Protection Order. Domestic Violence Orders describe two types of Orders:-
Temporary Protection Orders, which are orders made on an interim basis and pending a final hearing taking place; and
Protection Orders, which are final orders, usually made for a period of two years.
In order to obtain a Protection Order, you need to establish the following:-
A relevant relationship;
That the other party has committed domestic violence;
That a protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the victim from domestic violence.
Domestic Violence and Parenting Arrangements
If you’ve been assaulted or intimidated by your spouse or partner, or you have fears that it’s likely to happen, State laws in Queensland enable you to obtain a protection order for your safety and for the safety of your children. The existence of domestic violence is also extremely relevant to the issue of parenting orders in the event of a separation. Talk to us if you require advice regarding options for the protection of yourself and your children or if you require advice regarding the removal of your former spouse from the family home.
The Family and Federal Circuit Courts take domestic violence very seriously. When making orders in children’s cases, the court is required to make orders that are in the bests interests of the children. One of the main considerations of the Court in determining where the best interests of children lie is the need to protect children from physical or psychological harm from being subjected or exposed to abuse or family violence.
Sometimes Protection Orders are sought inappropriately or need to be modified in order to enable appropriate and safe contact with children of a relationship following a separation. If you are served with a Temporary Protection Order, we can assist you and act on your behalf in Court if you need to defend or limit the making of a Protection Order against you, should this be necessary. We recognise that some Orders can impose unnecessarily restrictive conditions, and are able to assist you to either defend the making of orders in appropriate circumstances, or limit orders for appropriate circumstances.
Calling a Family Lawyer can be difficult, however we’re here to help if: