Protection orders are orders made by the court placing restrictions on a person who has displayed behaviour which falls into the description of ‘Domestic Violence’ against another, with a view to protecting that other person from that behaviour.
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
‘Domestic Violence’ includes behaviour, that is:
- Physically or sexually abusive;
- Emotionally or psychologically abusive;
- Economically abusive;
- Coercive; or
- In any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes them to fear for their safety or wellbeing or for that of someone else.
HOW TO GET AN ORDER?
Threatening or abusive behaviour must be towards someone in a “relevant relationship”. For instance, a marriage, de facto relationship and many other family relationships.
Before the court will make an order, it needs to be satisfied that there have been acts of Domestic Violence. In addition, the court needs to be satisfied that such an order is necessary and desirable in the circumstances.
NAMING CHILDREN ON AN ORDER
The magistrates court can make an order which not only protects you, but which will also include your children to ensure they are also protected.
The court may name your children or children who reside with you on a regular ongoing basis. These may include step children, nieces, nephews etc. Above all, the court must be satisfied that naming the children is necessary or desirable to protect them from either:
- Associated Domestic Violence; or
- Being exposed to Domestic Violence.
CONDITIONS IMPOSED ON THE ABUSER IN A PROTECTION ORDER
There are many of conditions that the court may impose on the alleged abuser (“Respondent”) to protect you and your children from harm including:
All Orders must include the standard condition that the Respondent be of good behaviour towards you and not commit Domestic Violence against you. In addition, if the order includes a named person, such as your children, then the order must also include a condition that the Respondent not expose the named person to Domestic Violence.
Sometimes the mandatory order may not be sufficient and more restrictive Orders are needed to ensure your safety.
Additional conditions can be imposed if the Court considers them necessary in the circumstances or desirable in the interests of you and any named person.
Those conditions may prohibit:
- Behaviour that would constitute Domestic Violence or is likely to lead to Domestic Violence against you or your children
- The Respondent from approaching or attempting to approach you or your children including within a stated distance (e.g. 100 metres)
- The Respondent from contacting, attempting to contact, or asking someone else to contact you or your children
- The Respondent from locating or attempting to locate you or your children or asking someone else to locate you or the children if your whereabouts are unknown.
- Behaviour towards your children or children who usually reside with you. For instance, prohibiting the Respondent’s presence at a place children are associated with or frequent, such as schools and sporting fields.
Orders can also be made for:
- The recovery of personal property;
- Limit contact between the Respondent and children;
- Remove the Respondent from certain premises such as the former matrimonial home;
- Protect unborn children; and
- Prohibit the possession of weapons.
When considering what conditions to impose, the Court will also consider whether any exceptions should be specified.
It should be remembered however that the conditions of a protection order are subject to Federal Circuit Court and Family Court parenting orders. In other words if Federal Circuit Court or Family Court orders stipulate that the Respondent can to spend time with the children, this order will override protection order conditions. Therefore a protection order cannot be used as a shortcut to undoing a previously made parenting order.
If the Respondent has breached a condition of the protection order, you should contact your local police immediately. Above all, if you or your children are in immediate danger, contact ‘000’.
Protection orders can greatly assist in ensuring the protection of yourself, your children, and others against Domestic Violence.
Link to other Family & Relationship Law articles.
Contact us for further information or a confidential discussion on whether a protection order is appropriate in your circumstances and for assistance in preparing, or in defending an application for a protection order.