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What Does the Act Say? – Protection for Domestic Violence Victims

Over the last two weeks we have covered the circumstances that will constitute domestic violence by exploring the definitions of domestic violence and the categories of relationships that are included in the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (“the Act”). You can find both of these articles at http://matthewlovefamilylawyers.com.au/latest-news/.

There are several legal options open to people seeking protection from domestic violence situations. These options can be pursued by the aggrieved personally and/or the Queensland Police Service (‘QPS’) may pursue these options on behalf of the aggrieved.

Options

A victim of domestic violence has an option to file an application with a local Magistrates Court for a protection order. The QPS can also make an application on their behalf.

  • Protection Order

A protection order is an order of the court that imposes certain conditions (terms) upon how a respondent is able to interact with an aggrieved. It is usually made for a period of two years. Violation of a protection order carries very serious criminal consequences (see below).

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  • Temporary Protection Order

A temporary protection order has the same effect as a protection order but lasts for a shorter period of time (usually until the next Court date). A temporary protection order is granted in limited circumstances under section 44.

The QPS also has several other options open to them.

  • Police Protection Notice

Section 101 of the Act allows the police to issue a police protection notice against a person they reasonably believe has committed domestic violence.

A police protection notice is similar to a temporary protection order in that it imposes a standard condition under section 106 ordering good behaviour and prohibiting acts of domestic violence. If the police issue a notice of this kind it is taken to be an application for a protection order under section 112.

  • The Power to Take a Person into Custody

Section 116 allows police to take a person into custody if they reasonably believe that the person has committed domestic violence and that there is a danger of personal injury or damage to the property of another person.

Section 118 provides that police must, after taking a person into custody under section 116, apply for a protection order on behalf of the aggrieved.

Consequences

A protection order does not have the effect of a criminal conviction. It has no direct implication on the life of the respondent other than how it relates to their interaction with the aggrieved (with the exception of weapons licence holders).

However, there are very serious criminal consequences where a person is found to have breached a protection order.

Section 177 of the Act states that a respondent who breaches a protection order may be liable to the following maximum penalties:-

  • A fine of 60 penalty units (each unit is $110.00) or 2 years imprisonment; or
  • If the respondent has been convicted of violating a protection order within the last 5 years, 120 penalty units and up to 3 years imprisonment.

Section 178 and 179 also provide similar penalties for breaching a police protection notice or release conditions (where the person has been taken into custody under section 116).

 

The contents of this article are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please seek appropriate legal advice before proceeding with any course of action.

By Daniel Oxley.

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