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Domestic Violence

You may be experiencing domestic or family violence if someone else’s behaviour causes you to fear for your safety or the safety of your children.

It may stop you from living the way you want to live or force you to behave in ways that you don’t want to behave.

If you’ve experienced family violence or domestic violence, you may fear for your safety and the safety of your children. You may worry about what your former partner may do next, and you may be uncertain about your legal options. We can help.

You can apply for court orders that limit your former partner’s contact with you and your children, or prevent any contact at all.

A Family Violence Intervention Order may protect you and your children from any further violence or abuse.

Family Law Orders can also help reinforce the terms of an intervention order. If your children are at risk, we can help you apply for court orders that limit your former partner’s contact with them, or prevent any contact at all.

If you’re concerned about attending court, we can make sure there are special arrangements in place for your safety while you’re there.

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If you need immediate assistance:

You may need to keep yourself safe by knowing how to delete your internet browsing history.

The following phone numbers may also help:

Emergency: 000

Police attendance (non-emergency): 131 444

Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1800 800 098

Child Abuse Report Line: 131 478

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is also known as family violence.

It happens in domestic relationships when one person hurts another person or threatens their safety. Often, the aim is to scare and control the other person.

Domestic violence can happen in many relationships, for example:

  • Men against their wives or girlfriends
  • Women against their husbands or boyfriends
  • In same-sex couples
  • Between parents and children
  • Between siblings
  • Between carers and their at-home patients
  • Between housemates or flatmates

Domestic violence often takes the form of physical abuse, but this isn’t always the case.

The abuse can also be:

  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Financial
  • Social
  • Neglect
  • Stalking

If you’re able to contact us safely, we can discuss your options in the strictest confidence.

Family Violence Intervention Orders

Family Violence Intervention Orders are also known as domestic violence orders. They were previously known as restraining orders.

The purpose of these intervention orders is to protect anyone who may be at risk of harm or abuse.

A court can issue an intervention order after hearing an application. It must decide that there’s a reasonable chance that the defendant will harm or abuse you or your children. In other words, intervention orders are made when there’s a fear for safety. It’s not necessary to show actual physical harm.

Intervention orders typically restrain a person from being anywhere near you or your children.

They can apply to various situations, including home, work and school. They may also allow you or your former partner to live in the family home until there has been a property settlement. The orders may direct the defendant to do, or not do, certain things which the court sees as necessary to protect you and your children.

In urgent situations, temporary, or interim, intervention orders are common. At a later hearing, a court can then decide whether to make the order permanent, or final. It’s during this final hearing (the trial) that the court will consider the evidence. Final orders continue indefinitely, and it’s difficult for a defendant to have them revoked.

If the defendant breaches the intervention order, you should call the police. If the defendant is charged, penalties may apply, including imprisonment.

Intervention orders and family law orders

Family law orders will override intervention orders if there’s any inconsistency.

If there are any family law orders in place, for example, orders about the defendant’s contact with your children, it’s important that any intervention orders are consistent with them. In some situations, this may not be possible due to the urgency of getting the order, but you should exercise as much care as possible when applying for the intervention order.

This is because family law orders will override intervention orders if there’s any inconsistency. For example, a family law order may allow the defendant to have the children all day every Sunday without supervision. But an intervention order may not allow for any contact with the children. The two orders are inconsistent, and so the family law order will prevail.

Not only will this weaken the intervention order and create enforcement difficulties, but it may also put your children at risk of harm. In these cases, we highly recommend that you seek legal advice.

If there’s already an intervention order in place when applying for family law orders, a court will consider the intervention order when making the family law orders.

At our first consultation with you, we will provide specific advice about the way these types of orders will interact.

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Frequently asked questions

If the intervention order is protecting you and then you breach it, you won’t face criminal charges, so long as you haven’t involved other protected people, for example, your children.

If you have involved other protected people, you may be charged with a criminal offence.

If you believe you have no choice but to breach an order, or if you believe you may have already breached an order, contact us as soon as possible.

If the intervention order is against you, seek legal advice about how it will impact your family law matters and time with your children. We can help you understand the legal implications and advise what you may need to do to vary the order.

Intervention orders are recognised throughout Australia, even when made by South Australian courts. A South Australian court can issue an intervention order against any adult in Australia. They don’t need to be a South Australian resident.

In many domestic violence cases, it can be difficult to leave home, or it may take some time before you can leave. This can be for many reasons, including securing accommodation, having enough money to leave or due to your children’s needs. There are things you can do to try and keep yourself, and your kids, as safe as possible. Find out more about safety planning.

Collecting evidence of the abuse can be a huge help when applying for an intervention order, when applying for a permanent order, or when seeking court orders about parenting arrangements.

Evidence can take many forms, including:

  • Notes of conversations or events detailing what was said, what happened, when it happened (times and dates), any witnesses, where it happened and any other information
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Health practitioners’ reports about physical or emotional injuries
  • Emails, text messages, and letters between you and the defendant
  • Any social media posts or comments by the defendant that may indicate an intention to harm
  • Ways in which the defendant has breached any existing court orders
  • Financial records showing earnings for both you and the defendant, household expenses and bank accounts to which you have access. If you must leave home in a hurry, it may be difficult to take this information with you. If you can, keep it in a safe place so that you can collect it as you leave. You might also provide copies to a trusted person so you can access them later. As a precaution, use your phone to take and store photos of all important information.
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