A family violence order is a name that Australia’s Family Law Act uses to describe orders that protect family members from violence. This article will help you understand how you can use the courts to obtain protection from domestic abuse.
States and territories make their own laws governing family violence orders. The orders have different names, depending on the state or territory in which they are granted.
If you need an order to protect you from domestic violence, you would apply for an order that has one of the following names:
No matter what name is used in the state or territory where you live, the purpose of the order is the same. If you convince a court that you are threatened by domestic violence, the court can enter an order that is designed to assure your safety by protecting you from future violence.
If you need protection, you can ask a court to enter an order that governs the conduct of a specific person. Depending on local law, you may be able to ask for an order to be entered against your spouse, former spouse, present or former cohabitant, or a person with whom you have had a serious relationship.
You can usually obtain an order for your protection if you satisfy the court that you have been a recent victim of domestic violence (or, in some cases, that you have been threatened with domestic violence) and are likely to experience family violence if the court does not intervene.
Local laws vary, but generally, courts have the power to order the person to:
Not all of these restrictions are included in every family violence order. The court will only enter the orders that you prove you need.
If threats were made or violence was directed at both you and your children, you may be able to include your children as persons protected by the family violence order. Your state or territory may also have a separate law providing for similar orders to protect children from child abuse.
Each state or territory has its own procedure. As a general rule, you begin the process by filing an application. You can obtain application forms from a local court. They may also be available online.
If you have a need for an immediate order, the court can enter a temporary order before it holds a formal hearing. That order remains in effect only until the hearing on your application is held.
The court will give you a hearing date. You need to serve the application and the hearing date on the person who will be affected by it. At the hearing, you need to present proof of your need for the order.