Restraining orders protecting a person from domestic and family violence are called Domestic Violence Orders in Queensland. They can also be called Protection Orders.
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 is the key legislation setting out how to apply for a Domestic Violence Order in Queensland. This article goes through the process of how and when a Domestic Violence Order in Queensland can be made and who can apply.
For an overview on Domestic Violence Orders in Queensland in general, see Protection Orders in Queensland.
If you feel your safety is under immediate threat, you should contact the police on 000 urgently.
What kinds of conduct do Domestic Violence Orders in Queensland restrain?
Domestic Violence Orders are designed to prevent a person from threatening or committing domestic violence against someone whom they are in a domestic or family relationship with.
Section 56 of the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2012 states that all orders must include certain standard conditions. These are sometimes called restraints. This includes the condition that the defendant be of good behaviour towards the protected person and not commit domestic violence against that person and their children.
The court has the power to impose any other conditions that it believes is necessary in the circumstances and is in the interests of the protected person or the defendant.
You should tell the court, your solicitor, or police what conditions you would like included in the Domestic Violence Order to meet your needs. For example, you may ask for a condition prohibiting the defendant from coming within a certain distance of your home and workplace.
Who is considered to be in a family and domestic relationship?
Family and domestic relationships in Queensland refers to relationships between intimate personal partners, relatives, and informal care relationships. The definition includes both current and former intimate partners, such as spouses and de facto partners, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins. It also includes relationships between people who are relatives by marriage, such as in-laws.
A broader meaning of relative applies to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders, members of certain non-English speaking backgrounds, and people with particular religious beliefs.
Informal care relationships also fall within the definition of a domestic relationship in Queensland. These relationships occur when one person is dependant on the other person for assistance in their daily living. An example of an informal carer relationship is when a person helps another with their daily grooming needs or takes them to medical appointments. This definition does not include commercial care arrangements.
For further details about what relationships fall within the definition of a family and domestic relationship, see Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland.
Who can apply for a Domestic Violence Order and how?
A person seeking protection or an authorised person acting on their behalf may apply for a Domestic Violence Order. Relatives or friends can make such applications on behalf of their loved-ones with their permission. Otherwise, a police officer may apply for a Domestic Violence Order on your behalf.
The prescribed form needs to be filled out, stating the reasons for seeking a Domestic Violence Order. If the applicant is not a police officer, the applicant must verify the form by including a statutory declaration. The form then needs to be lodged to the Queensland Magistrates Court.
The application form can be accessed on the Queensland courts’ website.
It is recommended that you first speak to a lawyer before submitting an application for a Domestic Violence Order. A solicitor will be able to give you legal advice, assist you in filling out the form, and represent you in court.
What happens after an application for a Domestic Violence Order is made?
After an application has been submitted to the court, your matter will be dealt with in a hearing called a ‘mention’. If you and the defendant agree, the court will make the order.
If you both disagree to an order being made, the court may set another hearing date. The hearing will proceed even if the defendant does not attend and the court will make a final Domestic Violence Order in their absence.
It is therefore important that you attend court on the date(s) required. You will have an opportunity to express your concerns and request variations of the order if necessary. A solicitor can assist you in preparing for the hearing and represent you in court.
For those who have never been to court before, read our article Court Etiquette in Queensland.
More information on Domestic Violence Order mentions and defended hearings in Queensland is provided in Protection Orders in Queensland.
How long am I protected by a Domestic Violence Order in Queensland?
The order expires on the date provided in the order. This is usually two years from when the order was made.
However, if the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, it has the power to make the order last for more than two years.
At any time, the protected person (or their authorised representative), defendant, or a police officer may submit an application to a court requesting that the Domestic Violence Order be varied or cancelled. A solicitor can assist you in submitting an application to have the order changed or revoked to suit your needs.
What is the penalty for breaching a Domestic Violence Order?
Domestic Violence Orders are civil matters. This means that it does not give a defendant a criminal record.
However, breaching the order is a serious criminal offence which may result in a fine up to 120 penalty units ($14,628 at the time of writing) or imprisonment for up to three years.
The penalty is increased to 240 penalty units ($29,256 at the time of writing) or five years’ imprisonment if the defendant has, within the past five years, previously been convicted of a domestic violence offence.