Part 3 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, creates a regime by which a person – called an ‘aggrieved’ – can be offered protection by a Magistrate making an order called a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVO). An aggrieved can make an application themselves, they can authorise someone else to do it or a Police officer can do it on their behalf (and, sometimes, they will even do so against the wishes of the aggrieved).
A person from whom the aggrieved is seeking protection is called ‘the respondent’.
The application process
To obtain a DVO, a person (normally the aggrieved or a police officer) must fill out a form, called an application for a protection order and file it with the Magistrates Court which is the closest to them. The application form can be obtained from a courthouse, most police stations, the Queensland Courts website and it can also be completed online.
Once the application is filed, the Court registry will allocate a date for the application to first be considered by a Magistrate. The applicant must then serve a copy of the application on the respondent including the date that has been set for the first hearing.
It is always advisable to have a police officer serve the application on the respondent – an aggrieved should not attempt service themselves. If the police refuse to assist in serving the application, the applicant should hire a process server to perform that task.
How a DVO is made
Temporary and ‘permanent’ orders
At the first court hearing, assuming the respondent has been served and attends court, the Magistrate can either make a temporary protection order or they can make an order permanently (meaning for an operational period of 5 years).
What happens at the first court date for an application for a DVO is set out in the relevant tabs below.
A DVO, whether it is temporary or permanent must contain the following mandatory condition (called a ‘standard condition’ in the legislation):
“That the respondent must be of good behaviour toward the aggrieved, and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved”
If there are other people named in the order (for example relatives or children) the same mandatory good behaviour condition must be made in relation to each of them.
In addition to this mandatory condition there are a range of additional conditions that an aggrieved person can seek for their own protection, or that a Magistrate can unilaterally impose if they think it necessary to do so. Some particularly onerous examples of these extra conditions are:
An Ouster condition, which requires the respondent to move out of their residence within a specified period of time (usually between 1 and 2 weeks).
A non-contact condition, which prohibits a respondent from contacting or attempting to contact the aggrieved or, often times, a named person (like their children and/or relatives).
A non-approach condition, which prohibits a respondent from being physically near (for example within 100m of) anywhere the aggrieved lives, works or is.
If you would like to know more about DVO’s in Queensland choose any of the tabs below for more information for respondents and for aggrieved persons.