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Criminal Law and Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence offences form a large aspect of criminal law. Domestic violence is unfortunately a common situation in Australia and the statistics are only getting worse within both society and aboriginal communities. Those who experience domestic violence or personal violence can have lasting scars both physically and mentally which take years to heal.

Domestic violence and family violence has become a leader around the world in causes of death and victims feel that their fear is not being heard. If you have any concerns about offences rising from domestic and family violence or personal violence then contact Jameson Law today for expert assistance. A domestic violence offence is a serious matter and the sooner advice is accessed the better.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, or family violence is violence which occurs between domestic partner or people involved in an intimate relationship. In certain cases this will extend to immediate family members such as children, grandparents, etc. Offences are not necessarily just physical as they can extend to emotional, psychological, verbal and sexual.

Criminal offences of this nature may extend to other areas of criminal law and an individual can be charged with a domestic violence offence as well as assault, etc. Technically, this means an individual can be charged or penalized twice for the same offence. Criminal offences involving violence can carry significant penalties, including a term of imprisonment but they can have wide reaching social implications.

Anyone charges/convicted of a criminal offence may have difficulty obtaining a working with children or vulnerable persons card and being able to engage with schools or sporting events involving children. It will also prevent certain job applications or opportunities. It is a situation that will follow you for life so each and every actions needs to be carefully considered.

Apprehended Violence Orders

An apprehended domestic violence order is an order put in place to protect one party from the other. The orders can be put in place by the police or by the court and usually run for a period of 12 months. In exceptional circumstances, the orders can run for longer periods but the standard is 12 months. After that period, the victim will need to have grounds for the order to be extended in order to keep it in place.

An apprehended violence order can be put in place regardless of whether there have been criminal charges laid. The order can have different conditions in place depending on the severity of the offending. The following could be included;

  1. A restraint on the offender coming within a certain distance of the victim (this could be 10, 50, 100 meters, etc);

  2. A restraint on communication and communication methods;

  3. A restraint on verbals abuse, harassment, stalking, etc;

  4. A restrain on the offender attending certain residences where the victim may be;

  5. A restraint on the offender coming into contact with children as listed within the order;

  6. A restraint on any damage to property;

There are various other conditions which could be included however they are contingent on the type of violence. The above are the most common conditions you may see.

Domestic Relationships

A domestic relationship refers to a relationship between intimate partners. Domestic and family violence is violence which occurs between partners in either a physical, emotional, mental financial or sexual manner. This type of personal violence is extremely serious as it is more than just a random act of violence. It is violence between people with a level of familiarity and trust.

A domestic relationship includes people such as parents, siblings and close family at times and the criminal justice system considers each victims safety to be paramount against domestic violence.

Restraint Orders

Restraining orders are an additional type of protection order that an individual or victim can get against an abuser. Unlike an apprehended domestic violence order, a restraining order does not require a degree of familiarity as a criteria. Restraining orders can be applied for by an individual who has suffered violence as a result of another individual.

A restraint order application form needs to be filled out and submitted to the court and then a date will be set for it to be heard. The defendant needs to be served with a copy of the application so that they can respond if they wish. The applicant will then need to attend court and argue why they believe the order needs to be in place.

A successful restraining order needs to cover a few separate elements. For one, there must be instance of violence which have already occurred, whether that be physical, mental, emotional or threats of violence made. Secondly, there must be a real and honest belief that an individual would be caused harm if not adequately protected. Intervention orders are designed to protect individuals from assault or other harm through specific conditions.

What Are Domestic Violence Penalties?

If you are charged with a domestic violence offence and found guilty, there are several penalties you could face. Sentencing procedure for example in offences such as grievous bodily harm can result in penalties ranging from a good behaviour bond to a term of imprisonment and many in between. Domestic and personal violence carries the same penalties and sentencing is weighed against factors such as severity, quantity and circumstances.

Domestic violence often coincides with other criminal offences such as assault, grievous bodily harm, etc., and this can make penalties even more severe. The purpose of sentencing is to both punish and deter people from committing further offences. It is designed to deter both the offender and the general public whilst also ensuring continued public safety.

A list of possible penalties is listed below;

  1. Term of imprisonment;

  2. Monetary fine;

  3. Community Corrections order;

  4. Supervised order;

  5. Good Behaviour term;

Is A Violence Order An Indication Of Criminal Offending

The threshold for either apprehended domestic violence orders or restraining orders is low and often they can be obtained with a low level of evidence. Sometimes, a threat is enough to get a protective order put in place even if the threat is not enough to warrant charges.

The paramount aim of a violence order is protection. They are designed for community safety. That is not to say that police will not lay criminal charges in domestic violence matters warranting an order, but it is a higher threshold. The order protects against physical or mental harm which are classed as a serious offence within the local court and supreme court.

Unfortunately, rightly or wrongly, people can be issued a protective order without violence having occurred and the defendant is unable to do much about it. The police do not need to disclose the circumstances under which the order was issued which means there is no transparency. For example, a comment could be made that was not meant as a threat but interpreted as a threat and victims are able to access an order based on that fear.


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