If you are a victim of violent or abusive behaviour, domestic violence, stalking, harassment or threats, there are a variety of court orders (such as a restraining order, domestic violence order and an intervention order) that you may be able to get to stop the behaviour, depending on the relationship between you and the offender.
Orders Against Family Members or Relatives
Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs)
In Queensland, protection orders against family members or relatives are governed by the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld).
A family member or relative includes a person in one of the following relationships with you:
- An intimate personal relationship.
- A family relationship (including a parent, former parent, child over 18 or other relatives over 18).
- An informal care relationship where one person is dependent on another for ordinary daily tasks.
What is Considered Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence or family violence includes:
- any physical or sexual abuse,
- emotional or psychological abuse,
- economic abuse (restricting or controlling another person’s spending or access to money and credit cards, etc),
- threats of violence,
- coercion, and
- other controlling or dominating behaviour which causes you to be fearful.
What Orders are Available to Stop Domestic Violence?
There are two types of domestic protection orders:
Protection Order (long term)
This is a long term order requiring that the offender not commit domestic violence against the victim(s) named in the order. It can also require that the offender stay away from the victim’s home or place of work.
After you lodge an application for this order, you will be given a date for the hearing. A copy of your application and the hearing date will be given to the offender who can choose to agree with or oppose the order. They will need to get legal advice and will have the right to appear at the hearing as well.
Temporary Protection Order (short term)
This order can be obtained urgently if you believe your safety is at risk and you require a protection order immediately, or while you are going through the process to get a long term protection order. This order can be issued by a court before the offender even knows about it.
What Does a Protection Order Achieve?
Protection orders are civil orders, but breaching a protection order is a criminal offence. A protection order can state that the offender must be well-behaved and not commit domestic violence toward the specific person(s) named in the order. It also states that the offender cannot own a weapon or hold a weapons licence.
How Do I Get a Protection Order?
You can get a protection order by applying to the Magistrates Court. You may be able to get the police or a lawyer to apply for you.
What To Do If You Are Experiencing Domestic Violence
The first thing you should do is report the abuse and seek advice. You can contact the police directly, or alternatively, a support organisation who can assist you to do this.
Police and Support Organisations
In emergency situations, call 000. When there is no imminent threat, you can report domestic violence to police by calling police on 131 444.
There are a number of support organisations that can provide advice and counselling for victims of domestic violence and family violence 24 hours a day 7 days a week, including:
- DVConnect Womensline – 1800 811 811 (support for women experiencing domestic violence).
- DVConnect Mensline – 1800 600 636 (support for men experience domestic violence).
- 1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732 (crisis and trauma counselling).
An intervention order is an order that a court may make at the same time as a protection order requiring the offender to attend an ‘intervention program’ to assist them to change certain behavioural traits. It is a voluntary order, so the court can only make the order if the offender agrees to comply with it.
Orders against Non-Relatives
Orders against a person who is not a family member or relative are governed under the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld), and the Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982 (Qld).
Peace & Good Behaviour Order
The Magistrates Court can issue a Peace and Good Behaviour Order requiring a person to stop any behaviour or activity that threatens to cause harm to you, your property or a person in your care. The order will stay in effect for a specified period of time.
This type of order can be obtained against anyone who is not your family member or relative. For example, a flatmate, neighbour, workmate or other associate.
What do you need to prove to get a peace and good behaviour order?
To get an order you need to show that the offender has:
- made threats of assault or physical injury,
- destroyed or damaged your property, or
- caused you have well-founded fear of them.
Restraining orders are generally obtained by victims of stalking.
Stalking is a crime and includes behaviours such as watching, hanging around or approaching a person at their home, place of work or another location, contacting them persistently by phone, fax, mail or email, intimidating harassing or threatening a person.
What Do You Need to Prove to Get a Restraining Order?
You must be able to prove to the court that stalking activity has occurred on at least two separate occasions or on one occasion for a prolonged period of time. The behaviour must be directed at you and cause you apprehension of fear or detriment.
The court may issue a restraining order whether or not the offender is convicted of stalking. Breaching a restraining order can attract a fine of $3,000.
What To Do if You Are Being Stalked
Contact the police, as stalking is a criminal matter. In emergency situations, call 000. When there is no imminent threat, report stalking activity to police on 131 444.
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