Last updated 14 March 2022
A domestic violence order is a protection order made by the court to stop threats or acts of domestic violence against a person.
This order can stop someone:
- approaching another person at their home or workplace
- staying in a home they used to share with the other person
- approaching another person, their relatives or their friends, if named in the order, within a certain distance (e.g. 100 metres)
- going to a child’s school or day care centre.
An application must be in the official form and is usually filed in a Magistrates Court (s 32 Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld) (DFVP Act)). The application for a protection order (Form DV1) can be obtained from the local Magistrates Court, police station or online from the Queensland Courts website.
There is no filing fee. Once the application is filed, a date for the hearing of the application will be fixed, and the court will provide the application to police to serve on the respondent (ss 33-34 DFVP Act).
Who can apply?
The following people can apply for a protection order:
- the aggrieved
- a person who is authorised by the aggrieved in writing to apply for an order (e.g. a refuge or domestic violence service worker)
- a police officer
- a person acting on behalf of the aggrieved (the DFVP Act gives the example of a guardian for a personal matter of the aggrieved under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld), or an attorney under an enduring power of attorney under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998 (Qld)).
How to get a domestic violence order
To be able to obtain a domestic violence order, you need to be able to show that:
- you are in a ‘relevant’ relationship covered by the DFVP Act
- you have experienced domestic violence by the respondent
- the protection order is necessary or desirable to protect you from domestic violence (s 37(1) DFVP Act).
Relationships covered by the DFVP Act
Three types of relationship are covered by the DFVP Act:
- an intimate, personal relationship (a current or former spouse, a parent of a child together, an engaged couple or a ‘couple’ relationship) (s 18 DFVP Act)
- a family relationship
- an informal care relationship.
Intimate personal relationships
An intimate personal relationship includes couples who:
- are married
- are separated or divorced
- have a child together
- are living together or who have lived together (ss 14, 15,16, 18 DFVP Act).
The court considers each relationship on a case-by-case basis and, in some circumstances, it can include couples who have not lived together (e.g. couples who have formed an online or distance relationships and have daily contact with each other via social media and/or telephone).
A family relationship exists where the aggrieved is related to the respondent by blood or by marriage (s 19 DFVP Act). Examples of family relationships include:
- a spouse
- a child
- a parent
- a sibling
- a grandparent
- an aunt or uncle
- a nephew
- a cousin
- a half-brother
- a mother-in-law.
The DFVP Act also accepts that some people have a wider concept of ‘relative’ such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and members of some non-English speaking backgrounds.
Informal care relationship
An informal care relationship exists where one person is dependent on the other person (a carer) for help in aspects of their daily living such as shopping, cooking, dressing, showering or arranging medical appointments. It is not applicable when the carer is paid by the person, however, a person receiving a carer payment from the government can be part of an informal care relationship (s 20 DFVP Act).
Young people as applicants
A person under 18 can apply for or be a respondent to a domestic violence order if they are in an intimate personal relationship or an informal care relationship, but not a family relationship (s 22 DFVP Act).
This means that children under the age of 18 cannot apply for a domestic violence order against their parents or other family members. Referrals to other agencies such as Family and Child Connect, a Family Wellbeing Service (if they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) or Child Safety should be considered in these cases (see About Child Protection, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs).
Police as applicants
Police officers are very important in responding to domestic and family violence (DFV). A police officer must investigate if they reasonably suspect that DFV has been committed (s 100(1) DFVP Act). If, after investigation, the police officer believes that DFV has been committed, they must consider whether it is necessary or desirable to take action to protect the person immediately (and in the longer term) from further DFV and what is the most effective action to take. This can include applying for a domestic violence order, issuing a police protection order (discussed below) or taking the respondent into custody.
Who can be protected by a domestic violence order?
A domestic violence order can protect other people who have been affected by the violence. People who can be named on and protected by an order include:
- a child of the aggrieved
- a child who usually lives with the aggrieved (e.g. a child who spends time with the aggrieved on a regular basis)
- a relative of the aggrieved
- an associate of the aggrieved (e.g. their new partner, work colleague or friend) (s 24 DFVP Act).
A person included on the order is called a ‘named person’. The same conditions that apply to protect the aggrieved will also apply to the named person.
The court may name a relative or associate of the aggrieved if it is satisfied that naming the person is necessary or desirable to protect that person from DFV.
Naming a child on an order
A court can name a child of the aggrieved or a child who usually lives with the aggrieved in a domestic violence order to protect the child from associated domestic violence or being exposed to domestic violence by the respondent (s 53(b) DFVP Act). Unborn children can also be named on the order. The order will take effect when the child is born (s 67 DFVP Act).
The Act states that a child is exposed to domestic violence if a child:
- sees or hears an assault
- overhears threats of physical abuse
- overhears repeated denigration
- comforts a person who has been abused
- observes bruises or injuries to another person
- cleans up property that has been damaged
- is present when police attend a domestic violence incident.
The court is required to consider naming children on a domestic violence order (s 54 DFVP Act) even if the parties have not requested that the children be named or where the respondent does not agree to the child being named. The court has the power to obtain information from the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs if the court considers that the department may have information that will assist the court in making a decision about whether to name the child (s 55 DFVP Act).
If a child is named on the domestic violence order, the conditions on the order can be tailored to allow for the respondent to see the child pursuant to a family law order or by written agreement between the parties.
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Family Law Act) now also recognises that a child is exposed to family violence when they see or hear or otherwise experience the effects of family violence. The Family Law Act outlines some similar examples of what being exposed to family violence by a child looks like (s 4AB Family Law Act).