A domestic violence order can also protect other people who have been affected by the violence. People who can be named in 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 or on-going basis)
  • a relative of the aggrieved
  • an associate of the aggrieved (e.g. their new partner, work colleague or friend) (s 24 DFVP Act).

If a person is included on the order they are called a ‘named person’. The same conditions that apply to protect the aggrieved will also apply to the people who are named on the order.

The court may name a relative or associate of the aggrieved if it is satisfied that naming the person is ‘necessary or desirable’ (see above) to protect that person from domestic violence.

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 in 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 Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services 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 (of the aggrieved and respondent) 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 in these circumstances.