Family Violence & Protection Orders
The Family Law Act 1975 and the NSW Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 provide a range of (somewhat different) ways for the Courts to address and deal with family violence.
The Family and Federal Circuit Courts are committed to ensuring that issues about family violence are addressed promptly and with priority in matters concerning children.
In NSW, a person who has experienced domestic violence is entitled to protection. Children who have experienced or who are at risk of exposure to domestic violence are also entitled to protection.
The Police should be called in any circumstances where you or your children feel threatened or unsafe. Protection Orders from the Local Court can be obtained swiftly.
In the Family Circuit Court or Federal Circuit Court, a Family Violence Order can be sought, to provide similar protection.
From June 2012 amendments to the Family Law Act concerning family violence came into effect. These reforms include broadening the definition of family violence to include behaviour relating to financial control.
Protection Orders and Domestic Violence Orders can provide that a person must not:
- abuse or demean another person;
- assault, harass or intimidate a person;
- limit the circumstances and terms of any communication between the parties
- stop a person from coming near your home or where you work;
- direct an individual to give up their firearms.
The Family Circuit Court or Federal Circuit Court also have the power to order injunctions. These may restrain behaviour and also provide for one person to live in, and make use of the home, where both once lived as a couple. This can be short-term or longer term.
Family violence is a ground upon which a person may be excused from attending mandatory Family Dispute Resolution about their children. Because the main objective of the Court in children's matters is the best interest of the children, protecting a child from family violence is a primary consideration for the Court.
If you are concerned about your safety and are about to start, or are involved in Court proceedings, the Court also offers protective services, including:
- Security guards at court;
- Separate Conference facilities/rooms; and,
- Video hook up for giving evidence.
If you have immediate concerns about your safety or for your children, contact the Police. They may provide additional information and referral to other services and may assist you in applying to the Court for Domestic Violence or Protection Orders.
Need to find out more about family violence and the support services on offer?
Go to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service www.dvcs.org.au