All families have disputes. However, sometimes it is necessary to get the authorities involved in family disputes, especially if an argument escalates to threats of violence or actual assault. Calling the authorities can ensure your, and your family’s, wellbeing through a variety of measures, including police issued ADVOs.
If you find yourself in one of the following situations, it’s time to call for help. You can then seek legal advice once immediate safety needs are addressed.
1. If you’re concerned for your safety
The moment you become concerned that your personal safety, or the safety of any of your immediate family, is at risk, you should notify the authorities immediately. Under the Crimes Act in NSW, it is a crime for someone to make you fear for your personal safety, even if no actual physical assault occurs. This crime carries a maximum two year prison sentence, so don’t think that because it’s just a threat, there’s nothing legally you can do.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of being threatened by a family member, you are protected by the law, and you shouldn’t hesitate in calling for help.
2. If physical violence occurs
Assault is a serious offence under NSW law. Depending on the circumstances, it could either fall under the banner of common, or aggravated assault, or in more serious cases even assault causing actual or grievous bodily harm. All these offences carry varying prison terms and fines.
In NSW, you are also protected by the recently introduced police issued ADVOs. This is part of the Crimes (Domestic & Personal Violence) Act that gives police the power to temporarily detain the suspected offender, until a provisional ADVO is implemented. That way, even if an arrest for assault cannot be made at that time, the person who is suspected of committing it will be separated from you and your family.
Seek help with family disputes
Family disputes are natural, but you need to know what to do if they escalate to a level where you, or your immediate family members, fear for their safety. If you do find yourself, or a family member, under threat, or the victim of domestic violence, it’s important to call the police. There are many measures in place to protect you and your family and you should never be afraid to ask for assistance.
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