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Domestic Violence Lawyers Queensland

Potts Lawyers > Criminal Law > Domestic Violence Lawyers Queensland

Domestic violence

New laws were introduced in Queensland in 2012 to provide protection to people who experience violence in a domestic or family situation.  A Domestic Violence Protection Order is a civil order that prevents the person whom the order is taken out against (the respondent) from acting violent towards anyone named in the order.  It does this by stating rules and conditions that the respondent must obey.  If they don’t follow these conditions and breach what the order says, there are serious criminal consequences that can lead to imprisonment.

Our team of DV lawyers have a wealth of experience in domestic violence matters and are able to provide a holistic approach to these complex situations.  We can help you if you are in need of protection from violence in a relationship or if you have been charged with contravening a protection order that was made against you.

Our lawyers specialise in the following types of domestic violence matters:

a) Assisting you in applying for a domestic violence protection order;

b) Assisting you in varying the terms of an existing domestic violence protection order;

c) Defending an application made against you for a domestic violence protection order;

d)Assisting you in registering an interstate domestic violence protection order; and

e) Advocating for you if you are charged with breaching a domestic violence protection order.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is defined in the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 as:

“…behaviour by a person towards another person with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that is physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive, threatening, coercive or in any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for the second person’s safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.”

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Case Studies - Our Results

Click below to view some of the outcomes we have obtained for our clients facing domestic violence proceedings.

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What sorts of behaviour constitutes domestic violence?

Examples of behaviour that constitutes domestic violence includes:

  • injuring (or threatening to injure) you (e.g. punching, strangling, pushing, slapping, grabbing your throat, pulling your hair, or twisting your arms)
  • repeatedly contacting you without your consent (e.g. calling, texting, emailing, or contacting you on social networking sites)
  • damaging (or threatening to damage) your property (e.g. punching holes in the walls or breaking plates)
  • stalking you, following you, or remaining outside your house or place of work
  • monitoring you without your consent (e.g. reading your text messages, your email account, your internet browser history, your social networking sites)
  • putting you down or make racial taunts
  • holding you against your will
  • forcing you to engage in sexual activities without your consent
  • getting someone else to injure, intimidate, harass or threaten you, or damage your property
  • threatening to commit suicide or self-harm to scare you
  • threatening you with the death or harm of another person
  • threatening to withdraw their care of you if you don’t do something
  • coercing or forcing you to give them your Centrelink or other payments
  • forcing you (without your consent and against your will) to sign a power of attorney to them to allow them to manage your finances
  • threatening to disclose your sexual orientation to your friends or family without your consent
  • preventing you from making or maintaining connections with your family, friends or culture, including cultural or spiritual ceremonies or practices.
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Our Domestic Violence Team

Click below to meet our domestic violence team who will be able to assist you in your domestic violence order application, domestic violence order proceedings and domestic violence criminal charges.

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What is a relevant relationship?

A ‘relevant relationship’ is defined as an intimate personal relationship, a family relationship or an informal care relationship. Details of relevant relationships include:

a) an intimate personal relationship (i.e. married, de facto, registered relationship, engaged couple, couple spouses, engaged couples, and couples that have or had a relationship together).

b) A family relationship means two people that are related in the sense that they are or were connected by blood or marriage (i.e. spouses, children (including a child 18 years or older), stepchild, parent, step-parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, nephew, cousin, half-brother, mother-in-law or aunt-in-law)

c) An informal care relationship is when one person is or was dependent on the other person for help in an activity of daily living (i.e. carer)

What are Domestic Violence Protection Orders?

A court can make a domestic violence order against a person (the respondent) for the benefit of another person (the aggrieved).  There are two separate orders a court can make:

a) Protection orders, and

b) Temporary protection orders – this can be made in the interim period before a court decides whether to make a protection order.

Sometimes, the court can make a domestic violence order even though the respondent is not notified about the application for a domestic violence order or does not appear in court, if the court is satisfied that there was a relevant relationship between the aggrieved and the respondent, the respondent has committed domestic violence against the aggrieved, and that a protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved from further family violence.

This includes any children and step-children, as well as unborn children if the aggrieved is pregnant.

The Conditions of a Protection Order

Each domestic violence protection order is different, and so the conditions set out in the protection order will vary depending on the individual circumstances. However there are standard conditions that must be included in the order. Section 56 of Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 states that a court making a domestic violence order must impose a condition that the respondent:

(a) be of good behaviour towards the aggrieved and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved; and
(b) if the order includes a named person who is an adult—
(i) be of good behaviour towards the named person; and
(ii) not commit associated domestic violence against the named person; and

(c) if the order includes a named person who is a child—
(i) be of good behaviour towards the child; and
(ii) not commit associated domestic violence against the child; and
(iii) not expose the child to domestic violence.

Other conditions which may be imposed by the Magistrate include limiting any contact between the aggrieved and the respondent (both physical and other, such as contact by phone or SMS), returning property to the aggrieved, or requiring the respondent to leave a location. These need to be necessary in the circumstances and desirable in the interests of the aggrieved, any named person, or the respondent.

The Role of the Police

The police play a paramount role in protection orders as they are often the first to respond to incidences of domestic and family violence. Under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, police have the power to issue a protection notice when attending a DV incident and they reasonably believe that domestic violence occurred.

The police protection notice is taken to be an application for a protection order, to be determined in the Magistrates Court at a later date. 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.

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Defending a domestic violence protection order or police protection notice

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:

a) Do not break the conditions on the order or the notice, even if you do not agree with it.

b) Read the order or notice carefully and contact us for legal advice so that we are able to explain the conditions imposed against you.

c) 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.

Breaching a Domestic Violence 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*. This can have serious implications if employed in certain industries and overseas travel.

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.

Learn more about breaching a domestic violence protection order here.

Get legal advice.

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, or if you are in breach of a domestic violence protection order. Contact us about what defences may be open to you today.

Do you need legal help? Contact us now.

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