Applying for Domestic Violence Order (DVO)
You are able to apply for a domestic violence order yourself, or you may get a police officer, lawyer or an authorised person such as a friend, relative or welfare worker to apply for you. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you can contact the Queensland Police Service at any time for assistance and should call 000 if you are in danger.
How can the police assist?
If police suspect that there has been domestic violence committed against you, they must investigate the matter. If after investigation the police reasonably believe that domestic violence has occurred they can do the following:
Charge the respondent with a criminal offence
In some cases, the police may decide that it would be more appropriate to charge the respondent with a criminal offence if one has been committed, such as property damage or an assault. If so, the court may impose bail conditions that prevents the respondent from having contact with the victim/aggrieved if they are granted bail. Upon conviction of that criminal charge, the court will then have power to make a domestic violence order.
Issue a police protection notice
A police protection notice can be issued immediately to prevent further acts of domestic violence. It is similar to a domestic violence order and remains in force until the matter is heard in court, at which time it is treated as a normal application for a domestic violence order. Before issuing this notice, the police must reasonably believe the following:
- An act of domestic violence has occurred
- A domestic violence order is not already in place and
- An order is necessary to protect you
This protection notice can include conditions that give immediate effective protection for you and anyone else involved such as children. This could include prohibiting the respondent from coming to your house or trying to contact you.
Apply to court for a domestic violence order
A police officer can apply to the court for a domestic violence order for you by completing the application form and arranging for it to be filed in court and served on the respondent. You can attend court and have input as to the final order and conditions that are made.
The police officer may also as part of that process, apply for an urgent temporary protection order to be in force until such time as a final determination has been made in relation to the application. A temporary protection order can be made in the absence of any parties attending court and can be done prior to the respondent being served with the application. That temporary order will remain in place between court dates if the application is adjourned.
Take the respondent into custody
Police may take the respondent into police custody if they reasonably believe that the respondent is likely to injure someone or damage property. They will generally use the time the respondent is in custody to initiate proceedings in court and impose special conditions upon their release from custody to reduce any risk they pose to the aggrieved, such as a condition that they have no contact with the aggrieved.
Filing a private application for a domestic violence order
If you are wanting to complete your application yourself you can start filling out the protection order application by clicking here. If you have any difficulties whilst filling out the form, you may seek legal advice if you haven’t already.
When completing the forms you should carefully consider whether you are seeking any additional conditions on the order. Every DVO in Queensland has the mandatory condition that the respondent must be of good behaviour towards the aggrieved and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved. If you are seeking to include a named person, or additional conditions such as conditions prohibiting the respondent from contacting you, from attending your residence, or from approaching you at any place, you need to select those options in the application form and provide reasons as to why those conditions are necessary.
After submitting your application, you are able to download and print the PDF forms for your records. Before your application can be lodged at the Magistrates Court, the person making the application (whether that be yourself or another person on your behalf), must sign the form as a statutory declaration. This must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace (a JP), Commissioner for Declarations (Cdec) or a lawyer. There are usually JP’s available at the courthouse to assist.
Once the application has been witnessed and signed by one of the abovementioned persons (JP, Cdec or lawyer), it must be lodged at the Magistrates Court with all necessary attachments, in person or by post. You will then be given a date to appear in court, which is usually a few weeks after you have lodged the forms (it may be sooner if you have asked for a temporary protection order to be considered urgently). The respondent will also be given a copy of the completed application as well as the date to attend court.
It is important to keep in mind that there are serious penalties that you may be subject to if you make a false declaration or give misleading information in your application.
This post contains general advice only and is not intended as legal advice.