Domestic violence of any shape or form is not tolerated in our community.
What is domestic violence and family violence?
Domestic and family violence is well explained in the various state and federal legislations. The relevant Courts that deal with protection of individuals and families subject to domestic violence are the state Magistrate Courts at first instance.
Domestic violence occurs when on person uses violence, abuse or control over another person in a relationship. This is usually ongoing behaviour and it is quite rare that a domestic abuser ceases the abuse without some form of intervention. Domestic Abusers use fear to control their partners or family members.
At James Noble Law we strongly advise that your first thought and action should be to protect yourself and your family from any abuse. If you think you are subject to domestic violence plan your escape or just call the police. They can help.
Your next port of call should be to obtain competent legal advice. A good lawyer can point you in the direction that will see gain the protection you need and help you get in touch with support services to assist you to get your life back in order.
The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services has listed many forms of domestic violence and this can include:
- physical abuse (including slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, kicking)
- threatening to hurt you, your children, pets, relatives, friends or work colleagues
- threatening to disclose your sexual orientation to other people against your wishes
- threatening to, or depriving you of your liberty (including locking you in the house so you cannot go out)
- stalking (including constantly following you by foot or car, constantly calling you by phone, text message and email, or staying outside your house or workplace). Stalking is a criminal offence in Queensland.
- damaging property to frighten and intimidate you (including punching holes in walls, breaking furniture, harming pets)
- emotional abuse (including criticising your personality, looks, the way you dress, saying you are a bad parent or threatening to hurt you, your children or your pets, or threatening to damage personal items you value)
- verbal abuse (including yelling, shouting, name-calling and swearing at you)
- sexual abuse (including forcing or pressuring you to have sex or participate in sexual acts)
- financial abuse (including taking control of your money, not giving you enough money to survive on, forcing you to hand over your funds, not letting you decide how it is spent)
- threatening to stop providing care for you if you don’t do what you are told (this sometimes happens to an elderly person or a person with an illness, disability or impairment who relies on another person to care for them)
- social abuse (including controlling where you go, not letting you see or have contact with your friends or family)
- depriving you of the necessities of life such as food, shelter and medical care
- spiritual abuse (including forcing you to attend religious activities against your wishes or stopping you from participating in the religious or cultural practices of your choice)
- threatening to commit suicide or self-harm to torment, intimidate or frighten you
Domestic violence can have devastating and lifelong effects on children
It is well known that domestic violence whether directed at children or undertaken in front of children can have immediately acute and long lasting effects on their physical wellbeing their emotional wellbeing. It may have such serious effects that it can impact their outside relationships and even in their schooling. It is also well known to affect a person’s ability to initiate and maintain friendly and romantic relationships with other people throughout their lives.
The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services have recognised certain behaviours that children may show if they are being affected by domestic and family violence which include:
- copying the abusive or violent behaviour
- sleeping difficulties including nightmares
- trying to intervene to stop the abuse (this is how some children become injured during domestic and family violence incidents)
- being stunned into a terrified silence by what they see
- blaming themselves
- being afraid, angry, and depressed
- bullying others or being bullied by others
- being cruel to animals
- regressive behaviours like bed wetting and thumb sucking
- being nervous and withdrawn
- changes in behaviour and/or academic performance at school
- displaying psychosomatic illnesses including unexplained headaches, asthma and stuttering
- running away from home
- attempting suicide or self-harm
- abusing alcohol and substances (in older children).
Domestic violence is controlled through the Magistrates Court of Queensland and in other State Courts in Australia.
Who can apply?
- the person experiencing the domestic and family violence (the aggrieved)
- someone else, for example, a solicitor or social worker, can apply on behalf of the aggrieved with the aggrieved person’s consent
- a police officer attending a call out due to an incident of domestic and family violence. The consent of the aggrieved is not required for a police application
- someone acting under another Act for the aggrieved, for example, a guardian for a personal matter, or an administrator for a financial matter under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000
- the Adult Guardian can apply if they believe that the aggrieved needs legal protection but does not have the capacity to apply for a protection order
- someone who is appointed as the attorney of the aggrieved under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998 and who makes the application under the enduring power of attorney.
Orders can be issued by the Court on a temporary or permanent nature. The general order made by the Court is:
- The respondent (the person who uses abuse or violence) must be of good behaviour towards the aggrieved (the person who needs the order to protect them) and not commit domestic violence
- If a named person is specified in the order the respondent must be of good behaviour towards the named person and not commit an act of associated domestic violence against the person.
Other orders can be made by the Court confiscating firearms, removing a party from the family home, limiting the powers of a party to contact the person affected by the domestic violence including children and orders prohibiting a party from being in the vicinity of the family home, the workplace of the other party or contacting the party by any means.
What are the police powers in relation to this?
The role of the Queensland Police is to respond to threats or incidences of violence and bring the matter before the Court. Many police officers are called to domestic violence incidents by victims or concerned neighbours.
The priority of a police officer called to an incident is to ensure the safety of the parties involved.
A Queensland Police publication advises that:
____________________________________If a police officer reasonably suspects an incident of violence(including physical, sexual, verbal or financial abuse; damage to property; harassment or intimidation; or threatening to do any of these), it is their duty to investigate the matter thoroughly.
This investigation may include:
Separating the parties
Asking personal questions — such as the history of the relationship and the reason for the present problem.
Searching the premises for anything associated with causing injury or harm
Removing the person using domestic violence and placing them in custody for up to four hours.
Can I make my own domestic violence application?
If the police are not willing to act and initiate an application for a Protection Order a person may apply for one or have their lawyer bring the domestic violence application on their behalf.
If a lawyer assists, they can draft the necessary application ensuring that it contains all relevant information that the Court will require to consider that application. The lawyer can represent the party in all aspects of the application and the subsequent hearings in the Court.
At James Noble Law we have the knowledge and experience to advise and guide our clients through the many and varied intricacies associated with domestic violence proceedings. We will draft the necessary documents to ensure they set out all relevant circumstances to comply with the legislative requirements to achieve the best outcome and to represent our clients in domestic violence Court proceedings. We are only too happy to act on your behalf in this regard.