Having a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) made against you does not mean you have a criminal record. DVPOs are often made ‘by consent and without admissions.’ This means that the respondent agrees to have the order made without admitting that any domestic violence has occurred. However, if you have a weapons licence it is important to be aware that getting a DVPO made against you will result in your licence being suspended or revoked.
What will happen to my Weapons Licence?
If a licence holder is the respondent in a temporary protection order, their gun licence is suspended for the period the order is in force (Weapons Act, Section 27A).
If a final protection order is made against the holder of a weapons licence, the licence is revoked (Weapons Act, Section 28A).
DVPOs remain in force for a period of 5 years, unless the court states otherwise (Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act, Section 97). If you have a DVPO made against you, you are not allowed to apply for another weapons licence until five years from the date the order was made (Weapons Act, Section 10B).
How do I avoid having a DVPO made against me?
If someone applies for a DVPO against you, you will be served with a copy of the application. This paperwork will have a court date on it. If you want to contest (fight) the application, you must go to court on that date, tell the magistrate that you don’t agree with the order being made and ask for a hearing date. The court will adjourn the application for hearing on a date in the future (usually two to three months in the future, depending how busy the court is).
On the day of the hearing, the court will hear the aggrieved’s evidence as to why a DVPO should be made against you. You will also have the opportunity to call evidence supporting your case. This may be limited to you getting in the witness box and telling your side of the story. You may also have other evidence you want to call.
What must be proven for a DVPO to be made?
Under Section 37 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act, the court can only make a DVPO against you if it satisfied of the following:
- A relevant relationship exists between you and the aggrieved. This may be a sexual relationship, a past sexual relationship or a close family relationship such as brother and sister or parent and child;
- You have committed domestic violence against the aggrieved. The violence does not necessarily have to be physical. It may be sexual, emotional, psychological or economic;
- The protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved from domestic violence;
If all of the above conditions are fulfilled, the court will make the DVPO.
Under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act, if you are present in court when the order is made, the court is required to consider matters relating to weapons (Section 80). The court must enquire as to whether
- You have a weapons licence;
- You have a weapon;
- You have access to a weapon in the course of your employment;
The court must include as much information about the weapons you possess in the DVPO as it can (Section 82). This is to make it easier for the police to arrange for you to surrender your licence and any weapons you possess.
When does the suspension or revocation take effect?
If you are present in court when a temporary DVPO is made, the suspension of your Weapons Licence takes effect immediately. If a temporary order is made in your absence, the suspension takes effect upon the temporary order being served on you. (Weapons Act, Section 27A0
If you are present in court when a final DVPO is made , the revocation of your licence takes effect immediately. If a final order is made in your absence, the revocation takes effect upon the order being served on you. (Weapons Act, Section 28A)
If you require legal advice or assistance with a domestic violence matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.