Family Violence, or 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.”
Family Violence is a complex issue, not only because of the legal terrain, but due to the close relationships, shared interests, and strong emotions held by both parties.
Changes in community attitudes and toughened sentencing standards mean that Family Violence is now taken very seriously by the courts. Not only are cases involving family violence given priority by the courts, meaning they will move faster through the system, but in almost all cases, police will immediately make an application for an intervention order against the person accused of family violence.
The definition used by courts when defining family violence is broad, and due to provisions within the Family Violence Protection Act (2008), obtaining an Order is easy. No evidence is required by the prosecution to secure a charge, and you do not need to be found guilty for an Order to be made against you – that means while your accuser and the prosecutor may not be able to provide physical evidence of family violence against you, an Family Violence Prevention Order can still be made against you, it will stick, and you must comply with it. Breaching the conditions of a Family Violence Protection Order (IVO) can result in hefty fines, a custodial sentence, or both.
In addition to an IVO, courts may sentence defendants with a Community Correction Order. Community Corrections Order give the court wide and sweeping powers to address what they believe to be the underlying cause of the offender’s behaviour through mandated treatment and rehabilitation, supervision by Corrections Victoria, and unpaid community work. Further, the court can order conditions curtailing the charged person’s behaviour and movement including:
In matters of intimate and private relationships, it often comes down to one person’s version of the truth against another. At Garde-Wilson Lawyers, we provide you with non-judgmental support and advice, and help you initiate a plan to ensure your rights and interests are represented in court. If you’ve been charged with family violence, or have an application for an IVO made against you, contact us for a confidential, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.
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