Family violence (domestic violence) includes physical violence, threats, emotional and psychological abuse and damaging property. You can take action to stop it.

If there has been family violence, contact your local police. The police have the power to:

  • arrest the offender
  • search for and remove weapons
  • charge the offender with a criminal offence
  • apply for an Intervention Order on your behalf.

Do not be afraid to call the police for protection for yourself and your children. There are special police units trained to handle family violence. If your local police are not helpful, ask to speak to an officer from the specialised Family Violence Unit as soon as possible. You can also seek help from a domestic violence service.

Eales & Mackenzie lawyers have had many years’ experience assisting parties and children escaping domestic violence and residing in refuges. They can assist you too if you find yourself in this situation with or without children. Do not be afraid to seek help from us, your information will be kept confidential and dealt with in a sensitive manner.

INTERVENTION ORDERS

If you are the victim of domestic violence or someone is threatening you, coming to your home uninvited or doing things that scare you, ask your local police to apply for an Intervention order from the local Magistrates Court or attend at the local court and make your own application. The court staff will assist you in completing an application. These orders are sometimes referred to as “restraining orders” or “IVO’s”.

You do not have to show you have been physically hurt before you can get help. A domestic violence restraining/intervention order can stop a person from coming onto certain premises (even if this is a house they own or where you work), from coming within a set distance of a family member, from damaging or taking personal property, or from contacting, harassing, threatening or intimidating a family member. The court can order the return of property or allow use of the property at certain times.

When taking out an intervention order, make sure the Magistrate knows about any family law orders that may be affected, such as a parenting order which details the time a person is to spend with a child and any contact between the parties for the purpose of attending at or organising handover of the child.

You can get an intervention order even if you already have a Family Law Court injunction for personal protection. If the police will not help you to obtain an intervention order, you can prepare and file your own application or seek the help of a family lawyer at Eales & Mackenzie to do it for you.

FAMILY LAW COURT INJUNCTION

You can apply to the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court for an injunction as part of a family law case. An injunction is an order made by a court to stop a person from doing particular things – for example, removing children from the State, assaulting children or a spouse, going into the matrimonial home, harassing the children or spouse, or selling or damaging any matrimonial property.

However, a Family Law Court injunction may be difficult to obtain and enforce. An intervention order from the State Magistrates Court may be more effective in protecting you from a violent situation because these orders can carry criminal penalties and can be enforced by the police.

If you are unsure or confused about which type of order is best for you or if you have been granted an interim order and need to return to the Magistrates Court for a final hearing, you should obtain advice from a family lawyer at Eales & Mackenzie.