Domestic Violence

Aitken Partners has a team of lawyers with experience in both defending and prosecuting domestic violence matters, including family violence and stalking. If you believe you are in danger from domestic violence, or you have been served with an Intervention Order, we urge you to contact us now.

Our service in this area include:

  • Applying for Intervention Orders or responding to being served with an Intervention Order
  • Assistance with criminal breaches of an Intervention Order

Definitions

The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines family violence as:

  1. Behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour:
      1. is physically or psychologically abusive; or
      2. is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
      3. is economically abusive; or
      4. is threatening; or
      5. is coercive; or
      6. in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person; or
  1. b) Behaviour that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph a).

Obtaining an intervention order

To obtain an Intervention Order the affected family member must make an application with the nearest Magistrates’ Court to where they live. They first need to make an appointment to see the Family Violence Registrar at the Court. When they attend their appointment, they will be asked to complete a form outlining the most recent incident and also incidents in the past.

At the first appointment, if the Registrar believes that the affected family member is at immediate risk, the affected family member will be asked to go into the Court room and give evidence to the Magistrate so an Interim Order can be made. An Interim Order is a temporary order that will last until either a Final Order is made or it is dismissed.

Once the Interim Order is made the Police will file and serve the Respondent with the Application and Summons for the Intervention Order and also the Interim Order, if one has been made. If an Interim Order has been made, it becomes binding on the Respondent once the Police have served the Respondent.

The matter will then return to Court. On the first return the Respondent has a number of options. These options are as follows

  1. The Respondent can consent to give the Court an undertaking that he/she will not engage in any family violence. An undertaking is not an Order of the Court, it is a promise that the Respondent makes to the Court. The Applicant will withdraw their Application however, they have a right of reinstatement if the Respondent, at a later date, breaches the undertaking;
  2. The other option that the Respondent has is to offer the affected family a Final Intervention Order with a denial of the allegations contained in the complaint. If the Respondent consents to this Order being made, the Magistrate will make an Order and the usual term of that Order is for a period of twelve months.
  3. If the Respondent is not prepared to offer an undertaking or consent to an Intervention Order with a denial of the allegations, the matter will be adjourned and listed for a Directions Hearing. The Interim Intervention Order will continue to be binding on the Respondent.

At the Directions Hearing the Respondent again has the option of offering an undertaking or consenting to an Intervention Order with a denial of the allegations. If the Respondent continues to refuse to settle the matter, the Magistrate will adjourn the proceedings to a contested hearing. Again, the Interim Intervention Order will continue to be binding on the Respondent.

At the Contested Hearing the Magistrate will hear evidence from both parties and from any witnesses that they call. The Applicant provides their evidence first and the Lawyer for the Respondent has the opportunity to cross examine the Applicant. If the Applicant calls any witnesses, they will give their evidence next.

The Respondent then enters the witness box and gives evidence and is also able to be cross examined by the affected family member’s Lawyer. The Respondent can also call any witnesses.

Following all the evidence, the Magistrate will make a decision and the Magistrate must be satisfied that there was family violence in the past and, on the balance of probabilities, there is likely to be violence in the future.

Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010

Intervention Orders are also available for people in a non-family relationship. We are also able to provide advice, assistance and representation regarding Intervention Orders for non-family members.