Domestic Violence

Domestic or family violence is defined as violent or threatening behaviour by a person that controls or scares a family member.


Men, women and children can all be victims of domestic violence.

When has Domestic Violence Occurred?

Family or domestic violence is usually about power and control and there are many ways a person can deomnstrate such behaviour. It can be physical, emotional, economic or social abuse, and it can happen to any sex at any age.


Most of the time we hear about domestic violence, we automatically think it’s regarding a physical attack where one person is hit and hurt by the other. Domestic Violence also includes emotional attacks or threats of violence.


The following are some examples of domestic violence:


  • Stalking
  • Repeated derogatory comments
  • Depriving someone of freedom of movement or speech
  • Preventing someone from spending time with their friends and family
  • Holding someone an economic hostage, not supporting them financially to allow them to meet their reasonable living expenses
  • Threats of violence
  • Damaging or destroying property or animals.


You should use this list as a guide, the main point to take away from this is that nobody has the right to be violent or controlling. There are people and organisations that can help if you have been a victim of violence such as White Ribbon Australia.

When is a child considered to be abused?

Child abuse can occur if a child sees or hears family violence. It is not limited to only physical abuse. The Family Law Act describes a wide range of circumstances that could be considered child abuse:


  • An assault of the child.
  • A sexual assault of the child.
  • Causing a child to suffer serious psychological harm
  • Serious neglect of the child.

What can I do to be safe from Domestic Violence?

Victim’s of Domestic Violence,  can apply for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) to avoid having any contact with the person causing the abuse.


The ADVO will always have three conditions prohibiting the Respondent from:


  • Intimidating, assaulting, molesting, harassing, threatening or interfering with the Protected Person;
  • Stalking the Protected Person; and
  • Any children of the relationship.


You will be able to get an ADVO if you can satisfy the court that:


  • There was a relationship between the victim and the person causing the abuse,
  • There was an act of domestic violence towards the victim


You may or may not need to represent yourself when you get an ADVO. If the police have applied for an ADVO on your behalf, you won’t need to represent yourself or get a lawyer. The Police Prosecutor will present the matter in court and you may or may not have to attend.


If you have applied for an ADVO on your own through the Local Court, it is a good idea to get a lawyer to represent you. Find out more information on going to court.

How long does an ADVO last for?

An ADVO lasts for as long as it states on the Court Order, however, it normally doesn’t last longer than 2 years. They start on the day of the Court Order.


If you don’t agree to an ADVO there is a chance for you to contest it. If you decide to contest it you will appear in front of the court and argue why you shouldn’t have an ADVO placed on you. You may want to seek legal representation to defend yourself against an ADVO. Once you have an ADVO on your record, it could affect you down the line, especially if you are considering obtaining child custody rights in the future.