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10 May, 2017 | Pauleen Clark
In order to be eligible to apply for a protection order, you must satisfy to the court that you were in a “domestic relationship” with the perpetrator.
A domestic relationship encompasses a variety of relationships. These include:
This includes marriage, civil union, and de-facto relationship of both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
Quick note: What is a de-facto relationship? The Court has scope to interpret what constitutes a de facto relationship based on a number of factors not just the length of the relationship.
The term family member includes grandparents, parents, children, siblings, and more. In modern society the term ‘family member’ can be very broad and the law has allowed for this.
For example: Jane and Bob were married and had two children Mary and John. Some time later they divorce and Jane forms a de-facto relationship with Sam. Sam is violent towards Mary and John. Even though Jane and Sam are not married if Mary and John were to make a claim against Sam, he would fall under the term family member. This is because a prima facie stepfather – stepchild relationship exists.
This includes a flatmate, border, partner or family member. However, this can’t just be a temporary house guest you did not have contact with; the court has noted there must be at least minimal interaction between one another.
When determining whether you have a close personal relationship with someone the court will look at two main factors. Namely:
In these types of relationships the court will often make a decision on a case by case basis. A pure legal test does not always aid in deciding whether a close personal relationship exists. Generally, if you feel you have a close relationship with someone you do.
Commonly when we think of domestic violence our thoughts are limited to physical violence from one person to another. However the scope of violence is much broader than physicality and the law has catered itself to ensure all forms of violence and abuse are not tolerated.
Critical factors to note about domestic violence:
When in a domestic relationship, the types of violence which are prohibited include:
This includes but is not limited to:
Psychological abuse is wide reaching and unlike physical abuse, there is often no physical bruise to show it is occurring. It can often be hard to realise it is happening to you, due to the behaviour by the abuser that chips away at your confidence.
Behaviour such as stalking, unwanted communication, making false allegations or hurtful comments can amount to psychological abuse.
Financial and economic abuse is relatively new to the Act but is no less important. If someone is controlling your actions through money, coupled with any of the emotions listed above, this is a recognised form of abuse.
In 2017 the Government announced other additions to what qualifies as abuse, for example coercion to marry.
It is important to note intention is not a relevant factor. It does not matter if your abuser does not mean to abuse you. If they are/have this is enough.
If you are in a domestic relationship and experiencing domestic violence, obtaining a Protection Order is the appropriate step to take.
It is important to note a Protection Order offers protection for the applicant and automatically applies for the benefit of a child in the applicant’s family.
Similarly, if you wish to file a separate application for a Protection Order for your child who is under 16 years, this can be done. In this instance you will be named the representative of the child/children.
You can apply for a protection order in one of two ways:
The effect of a Protection Order is to prohibit the abusers access to you and/or your family in order to ensure a safe environment.
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