What is the police’s role in domestic violence protection orders?
Often police officers are the first to respond to incidences of domestic and family violence. Under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, the police have the power to issue a protection notice when they attend a domestic violence incident and they reasonably believe that domestic violence occurred.
This notice is taken to be an application for a protection order to be determined in the Magistrates Court at a later date. The notice includes a standard condition that the respondent must be of good behaviour and must not commit further domestic violence towards the aggrieved. Police may also impose the following ‘cool down’ conditions if they believe it is necessary and desirable to do so:-
(a) that the respondent is prohibited from entering (or attempting to enter, or remain at) a stated premises, or approaching within a distance of stated premises;
(b) that the respondent is prohibited from approaching (or attempting to approach) within a stated distance of the aggrieved; and
(c) that the respondent is prohibited from contacting (attempting to contact, or asking someone else to contact) the aggrieved.
Police also have the power to apply to the court for a protection order or a variation of an existing protection order.
What if a domestic violence protection order or police protection notice has been taken out against me?
If someone has applied for a domestic violence order against you, you have four options in moving forward. You can:-
(a) Consent to an order being made.
(b) Ask for the proceedings to be adjourned so you can get legal advice.
(c) Oppose the orders the aggrieved has asked for.
(d) Do nothing and not attend court (although an order may still be made in your absence).
You must consider the following if there is a domestic violence order made against you:-
- Do not break the conditions on the order or the notice, even if you do not agree with it.
- Read the order or notice carefully and contact us for legal advice so that we are able to explain the conditions imposed against you.
- Get support from family, friends or a support service. We are able to refer you to appropriate support services available in your area.
A domestic violence protection order is a civil order, which means that you are not charged with a criminal offence unless you breach the order. You must follow the conditions set out in the protection order. If you breach the conditions in the order, the police can charge you with a criminal offence where you will face serious penalties.
Should I get legal advice if a domestic violence protection order is made against me?
You should obtain legal advice if there is a domestic violence protection order made against you. If a domestic violence order is made against you, it may affect any licences and other cards you hold, including weapons and security licences.
The conditions of an order or notice are very serious and it is important to obtain legal advice to fully understand the conditions imposed against you. Breaching a domestic violence protection order (including any temporary orders or police protection notices) is a serious criminal offence. If you are found guilty of breaching a protection order, you could face serious penalties, including terms of imprisonment.
We have experienced lawyers who are able to assist you if you have a domestic violence order taken out against you. Contact us today.
What happens if I breach a protection order?
Section 177 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 makes it an offence to breach the conditions of a protection order if the respondent against whom a domestic violence order has been made:-
(a) was present in court when the order was made; or
(b) has been served with a copy of the order; or
(c) has been told by a police officer about the existence of the order.
The maximum penalty for contravention of a protection order is 2 years imprisonment or a fine of 60 penalty units*. If you have previously breached a protection order within 5 years of committing the second offence, the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment or a fine of 120 penalty units*.
*One penalty unit = $117.80.
You should contact us if you are charged with breach of a domestic violence protection order made against you. Our lawyers are experienced in these charges and can give you detailed advice around the charge and your options.
Which court will hear the matter if I breach a domestic violence protection order?
A contravention or breach of a domestic violence protection order is a simple offence and therefore will be heard in the Magistrates Court.
What are some possible defences for breaching a domestic violence protection order?
Possible defences for breaches of a domestic violence order include (but are not limited to):-
- Where the accused was not the subject of the Domestic Violence Order Notice
- Duress (e.g. there was a threat to the accused or another person that the accused reasonably believed would have been carried out if he/she had not have done the act that was in breach of the protection order).
- Necessity (e.g. there was an extraordinary emergency that led to the breach of the protection order).
- Identification (i.e. the accused was not the person who ‘breached’ the protection order)
- Mistake of fact (e.g. the accused had an honest and reasonable, but mistaken belief that they were not the subject of the Domestic Violence Order).
It is not a defence for proceedings in respect of an order made interstate to show that the accused was unaware the interstate order could be registered in Queensland or was in fact registered in Queensland.
Temporary & Domestic Violence Protection Order Process for a Respondent (Flow Chart)
Stage 1. a) DVO Application is made b) Potential for Temporary Protection Order can be made c) Respondents first court appearance
You should contact us about what defences may be open to you if you are in breach of a domestic violence protection order.