Family Violence Protection Orders
What is Family Violence?
The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines Family Violence as including not just physical violence such as assaults, but behaviour that is physically or sexually abusive; emotionally or psychologically abusive; is economically abusive; is threatening; is coercive; that controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person; or causes a child to hear or witness, or be exposed to the effects of behaviour described above.
A broad range of behaviour, and not just physically violent behaviour, can be grounds for a Family Violence Protection Order.
What is a Family Violence Protection Order?
Anyone who is experiencing family violence can apply for an order, they are called Affected Family Members (AFM) in the Act. Often the Police apply for an order on behalf of AFMs after they have been called to a home because of a domestic dispute, that can include aggressive arguments and not just physical abuse.
A Family Violence Protection Order makes it a criminal offence to do family violence. It is what is commonly known as an Intervention Order between family members. Physical violence is already a crime, but a Family Violence Protection Order (FVPO) means that other behaviour such as coercive behaviour can result in being charged with Contravening a Family Violence Protection Order.
A FVPO normally contains other strict conditions like not going within 5 metres of an AFM and prohibiting all communication with a AFMs including children. Contravening or breaching any conditions is a crime and will often result in criminal charges being filed.
Been Charged with Contravening a Family Violence Protection Order?
The Act creates criminal offences such as Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order; Contravention of Order Intending to Cause Harm or Fear for Safety; and Persistent Contravention of Notices and Orders. Contraventions are commonly referred to as breaching an intervention order.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the penalty for contravention could be anywhere from an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour or being sent to prison. For instance, contravening an order by committing violence will result in a severe penalty compared to sending a birthday card to a child, but both can be contraventions depending on the conditions of the FVPO.
If you have been served with an Interim Order, Final Order or charged with contravening an Order, you should get legal advice as soon as possible.
The Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 operates in a similar way to the Family Violence Protection Act but when people do not have a family relationship. Again, breaches can have serious consequences and getting legal advice is a good idea.
Child Protection Applications
We have years of experience dealing with Child Protection Applications. If you are dealing with DHHS, we can help and can apply for Legal Aid on your behalf.