Understanding domestic violence laws

14 May 2019

Domestic Violence Laws Queensland

Regardless of cultural background, age, religion or socioeconomic factors, domestic violence can occur in any family in Brisbane. Each state and territory has its own domestic violence legislation. In Queensland, the law was significantly changed in 2012 and further changes were made on 31 May 2017. Domestic violence is now defined to include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Damage to a person’s property
  • Emotional abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Threatening or coercive behaviour.

A more detailed account as to what constitutes domestic violence can be found in the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2012.

What is a Domestic Violence Application and Who Can Apply?

A Domestic Violence (DV) application offers protection by restricting the behaviour of the abuser. The person who files a DV application is known as the ‘aggrieved’, while the person whom the order is filed against is named the ‘respondent’.

The category of people who can apply for a DVO in Queensland is extremely broad. Generally, anyone who is in a ‘relevant relationship’ and who believes they have experienced domestic violence as it is defined in the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2012 may apply for a DVO.

To issue a DVO, the court must be satisfied that:

  • The aggrieved and the respondent have a relationship that is relevant to the application
  • The respondent has subjected the aggrieved to domestic violence
  • The DVO is necessary in order to protect the aggrieved from further acts of violence and abuse.

When applying for a DVO, the aggrieved will be provided with a court date (this is usually referred to as ‘the mention’ date). The police will then inform the respondent of the DVO application that has been made against them. If both the aggrieved and the respondent appear at the court mention date and agree to the conditions set out in the application, the court can go ahead and issue the DVO.

If the respondent does not agree to the order or fails to attend the mention, the court may grant a temporary protection order. In some cases, a DVO may be granted in the respondent’s absence. If beyond the temporary order the aggrieved still disputes the application, then the court will set a final hearing date. As a result, at the final hearing (about 3-12 months after the temporary order date) the aggrieved and the respondent are permitted to present evidence in support of their case.

If your family has been subjected to domestic violence, you don’t have to face legal proceedings on your own. Our lawyers are highly experienced in domestic abuse legislation. We can assist you with:

  • Filing or responding to a Domestic Violence Order (DVO)
  • Negotiations between parties mentioned in a DVO
  • Legal representation in court
  • Urgent Application for DVOs and Protection Orders.

Domestic Violence Law FAQs

Q: Are children included in DVOs?

A: Children can be included in a DVO, if the court deems they require protection from violence. Orders can be extended to not only include the aggrieved person’s children, but also any child that lives with them (such as step-children).

Q: What are the conditions of a DVO?

A: Every DVO is different and the conditions are determined by the circumstances of the case. However, all domestic violence protection orders come with a set of standard conditions, including:

  • The respondent must not commit domestic violence towards the aggrieved, and
  • Any children mentioned in the order must not be subjected or exposed to domestic violence.

Two of the most common (but not standard) conditions of a DVO are firstly, a distance restriction on contact. If this condition applies, the respondent must not approach the aggrieved. Secondly, is an ‘ouster’ order, this requires the respondent to leave the house.

Q: What role do police play in DVOs?

A: The police are often the first to attend a domestic violence incident. If there is reasonable proof that domestic violence has occurred, they can issue a protection notice. This notice includes a standard condition that the respondent must be of good behaviour and must refrain from committing further domestic violence against the aggrieved.

Q: What if a DVO is taken out against me?

A: The following options are available to respondents:

  • Agree to the order, or
  • Request that the proceedings are delayed so you can seek legal advice, or
  • Oppose the order.

You may also choose to do nothing. However, if you fail to attend court or respond to the DVO, it may be made in your absence.

Q: What happens if a DVO is breached?

A: It is a criminal act if a DVO is breached. Respondents can face serious penalties for breaching an order, ranging from prison time to fines. The penalty will be determined by several factors, including the seriousness of the breach and the respondent’s criminal history.

Being subjected to domestic or family violence can be extremely traumatic. No matter what the circumstances of your case are, we can help you and your family feel safe. Our lawyers know each case is different and that domestic violence matters often need to be treated with urgency. To speak with an experienced domestic violence lawyer, contact our Brisbane office today. Phone (07) 3221 4300, or email [email protected], or fill in our online form here.

Image accompanying article "understanding domestic violence laws"

Client Testimonials

Your team’s communication with me was exceptional, I knew exactly what was happening.
A.A., Eatons Hill
The professionalism and reliability delivered by Amy Honan was fantastic. I had an urgent matter around my property sale and Amy offered to provide assistance over a weekend if I required it – that’s above and beyond!
E.F., Nundah
So pleased to have had a good, sound and knowledgeable firm.
C.W., Brookfield

I really liked the personable service by Michael Lynch Family Lawyers, the simple plain language you adopt and everyone’s patience.

A.O., Kedron
Amy, thanks very much to you and your team. Throughout my dealings with MLFL I have been continually impressed with your level of professionalism and, in particular, your understanding of circumstances and the articulate way you conduct yourself. I was completely satisfied with today’s outcome and without your experience and expertise in family law I doubt that the result would have been achieved.
M.R., West End
I always felt that the service provided by Michael Lynch Family Lawyers was of a high standard. Each time, after appointments I came away feeling secure. Keep doing what you are and maintain the ‘family feel’ that permeates your services.
C.W., Brookfield
Amy’s work was extremely professional but above all she has a manner and wisdom in dealing with people under stress. I will be recommending your firm to anyone that requires assistance.
K.H., Augustine Heights
Michael Lynch Family Lawyers always gave me competent and knowledgeable advice. I was consistently kept up to date. The meetings and phone calls were kept business-like, yet caring and thoughtful of my emotional state at the time. Thank you.
J.S., Holland Park
Your newsletters are great, I appreciate them.
K.B., Carina
I liked my solicitor keeping things as simple as possible.
S.M., Clayfield
My lawyer acted with professionalism in all her dealings with me and with the lawyer on the other side. I was always kept in the loop. I liked her approach. Thanks.
D.S., Coorparoo
Michael Lynch Family Lawyers have really listened to me. I felt confident my case was handled well. The law has changed recently, and I did not feel that a previous law practice I spoke to was suitably up-to-date.
P.B., Carindale

My solicitor is a good listener. My documentation maintained the high moral ground.

S.S., Hamilton
Thank you for providing me with a professional yet empathetic approach to gain the best outcome for me. My solicitor was excellent in explaining the processes and in representing me in Court. You have great customer service!
T.V., Everton Park
I appreciate you being upfront with fee estimates. You also have a fantastic website and the seminars REALLY helped to get me focussed.
T.C., Tarragindi

You, guys, provide extraordinary service.

A.O., North Brisbane
I was impressed by my solicitor’s attention to detail and her concern for me, and that the process was explained to me and that I understood it at all times.
B.W., Chapel Hill
The staff at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers were great. Everyone was fantastic, professional, understanding, caring and always communicated with me. I knew I was in good hands.
A.A., Eatons Hill
I appreciate my lawyer’s professional approach and her being on top of my situation.
N.S., Mt Gravatt
Amy, thank you. You have been diligent, accurate and pro-active for the entire duration of my matter. I appreciate it.
R.P., Cleveland

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers know what they are talking about.

R.M., Warwick
I really appreciated the happiness of your secretarial staff.
G.C., Clayfield
Thank you, you placed my needs first, you were aware of the need to reach a final result and not get caught up in the personal issues of the other party.
S.L., Moranbah
I like your friendly service and the ability to speak to my solicitor directly.
R.G., Wishart
Your team is professional, warm, friendly and real.
N.R., Crows Nest

I was always confident that I was getting the very best advice.

T.S., Flinders
May I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you and your staff for the excellent professional services I received. In a word, priceless.
D.H., Hendra

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers are easy to deal with, and your systems are good.

D.T., Ferny Grove

I was very impressed with the initial interview. Everything was well-explained, and the advice was honest about what I should expect.

C.M., Morningside

Your staff is knowledgeable, professional and very calm.

A.C., Helensvale
My family lawyer was very helpful in assisting me to combat a very ugly situation without stooping to the low levels that the other solicitor attempted to take us.
M.J., Manly
If I need a family lawyer in the future I’ll be heading to Michael Lynch Family Lawyers again.
C.W., Brookfield

I’m very glad ‘Michael Lynch Family Lawyers’ is my lawyer and not the other side’s solicitor.

S.S., Hamilton

Thank you, you kept me sane in a difficult situation and gave me the encouragement and the confidence to keep going. You made me feel extremely comfortable.

A.M., Chambers Flat

At Michael Lynch Family Lawyers I got professional and ‘no-nonsense’ advice, costs were within quoted amounts and my matter was resolved quickly – well done!

L.R., Ascot
Many thanks for your assistance – life is now great – I’m moving on.
J.K., Mansfield
My solicitor provided a personalised service, prompt and quick responses and cost information prior to my commitment.
G.C., Southport
I like that my lawyer treated me like a friend and kept jargon to a minimum. She was easy to contact and kept me informed.
L.R., Samford
Thank you for your ongoing conciliatory approach in this matter and as always I appreciate your level headed advice. I certainly feel that I ended up with the right Solicitor.
S.C., Nundah
A personalised and professional service. Information has been clear and provided timely to assist my decision-making.
S.S., Hamilton
Lovely to deal with and provides a balanced view in what are very difficult circumstances.
A.C., Morningside
Thank you for the outstanding legal advice you have provided and professionalism in which you conduct yourself. I am truly thankful that it was you who represented me.
M.T., Stafford
Michael is very personable and very good at covering the material and explaining the strategy.
J.O., Hawthorne

My lawyer was the most knowledgeable of all lawyers I spoke to when looking for a lawyer. Michael Lynch Family Lawyers showed professionalism.

R.R., Brighton

Thank you for being very personable, professional and always providing me with the most appropriate advice in my times of difficulty. The other party’s lawyers were extremely aggressive, while Michael Lynch Family Lawyers remained calm and professional.

S.D., Parkinson
Amy, thank you for all that you have done during this matter. You impressed me with your professionalism from our initial meeting, and you have proven beyond doubt, to have had the skills and knowledge required. You are a credit to the company, and I would highly recommend you to anyone in a similar situation.
R.P., Cleveland
Thank you for the great newsletter. Your article on “Coping with Christmas” is brilliant – clear, caring and helpful. Thanks again!
C.T., Bribie Island

I have appreciated the way that you and the staff at your firm have handled my situation. I would especially like to mention the professional and caring way my lawyer conducted my case, I am deeply grateful and extremely happy with the results. I will be referring others to your service.

J.H., Wellington Point

Thank you for helping me through this difficult time. You have been caring, compassionate and efficient. Some of my divorcing friends have not been so fortunate. In my mind, you are the best family lawyer in Brisbane. If anyone I know needs a good family lawyer, I will tell them to speak to you. Thanks again.

B.T., Clayfield
I was guided through a really difficult time with expertise of Michael Lynch Family Lawyers. I am more than happy with the outcome of mediation.
J.H., Windaroo
Michael, thank you again for your presence here yesterday. We really appreciated the clarity and accessibility of your presentation. It is a rare thing to find somebody who not only has expertise, but also has a skill in communicating it.
J.S., Brisbane

I just wanted to get in touch to say thanks for helping me get through my custody and settlement. Thanks again to you and your staff. You have had a significant positive impact in my kids’ lives!

B.S., Brisbane

Thank you Debra for all the work you did for me, you both made the process manageable and brought sense to the chaos.

R.B., Toowong

I would like to thank your firm for the support and compassion shown while dealing with my matter.

C.M., Brisbane

Thank you very much to everyone at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers. Thank you for helping me get my life back and make a fresh start. To have that fresh start without fear and anxiety is priceless.

A.A., Perth

Many thanks to Stephanie for her help and support through this time, I was incredibly impressed with her work.

L.K., North Lakes

We had such a positive experience with Michael Lynch Family Lawyers, and we highly recommend their services. Meticulous attention to detail, attended quickly to every additional request we made, and made sure we always knew exactly where we were every step of the way. Our lawyer took what was such a stressful and emotional time for our family, and made the process feel so smooth and seamless.

N.B., Brisbane

My lawyer has been an amazing help through this stressful time. I will remember her help for the rest of my life. Thank you.

J.H., Brisbane

After utilising the mediation services team recommended by your organisation, my ex-partner and I were able to reach some interim agreements about parenting. I am incredibly grateful for the advice provided by Debra Effeney; and found your firm’s services to be exceptionally professional. If we needed to consult a family lawyer in the future, we would have no hesitation in reconnecting with your firm.

K.M., Paddington