Domestic Violence

Aitken Partners’ team of highly qualified family lawyers has many years of experience in both defending and prosecuting domestic violence matters. If you believe you are in danger, or you have been the victim of 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 Defending an Intervention Order; and
  • Assistance with (criminal) breaches of an Intervention Order.

Respected Family Violence Lawyers

At Aitken Partners we understand the toll that family violence can have, both on the victims and those close to them. Our solicitors work tirelessly to ensure that our clients can feel safe and protected in their own home, and that they no longer have to worry about their own wellbeing or the wellbeing of their family.

When they work with our family lawyers, clients will experience a more personalised and attentive method of legal representation and assistance than is available at many larger firms. We ensure that our clients always feel supported and heard, that they are always aware of exactly where their case stands.

Work with a Leading Domestic Violence Lawyer

Our experienced and dedicated family lawyers are available to provide the legal representation, advice, and guidance that clients need when facing threats to their mental, physical and financial wellbeing.

We always make sure that our clients understand all legal avenues that are available to them as their case progresses.

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
    2. 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 (unless Victoria Police apply on their behalf) the affected family member must make an application at 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, if applicable.

At the first appointment, if the Registrar believes that the affected family member is at immediate risk, the affected family member may be asked to speak to the Magistrate so that a decision can be made as to whether an Interim Order should be made, to decide the conditions or the order and the duration of the interim order.

An Interim Order is a temporary order that will last until either a Final Order is made or the application is withdrawn or dismissed.

Once the Interim Order is made the Police will serve the Respondent with the Application and Summons for the Intervention Order (the Complaint) 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. The Respondent has a number of options. These options are as follows:

  1. The Respondent can offer 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. If accepted, the Applicant will withdraw their Application, however, they have a right of reinstatement if the Respondent, breaches the undertaking;
  2. The Respondent can consent to the making of a Final Intervention Order with or without admissions as to the facts alleged in the complaint. The Magistrate can make a finalOrder for a period of twelve months or longer. It is possible, but not common, for orders to be made for 10 years or indefinitely.
  3. If the Respondent is not prepared to offer an undertaking or consent to an Intervention Order, the matter will be listed for a defended hearing. The interim order will remain in place until the matter is heard and determined by the Court.

If an intervention order is contested, there will be a number of procedural steps (and court events) prior to the final hearing been set.

At the Final 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.

There are restrictions regarding cross examination where one or both parties are unrepresented.

Following all the evidence, the Magistrate will make a decision. To make an order 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

Orders can also be made for/against people in a non-family relationship. We are also able to provide advice, assistance and representation regarding Personal Safety Orders for non-family members.