Domestic violence is a criminal offence and can be defined as an intimate relationship that is characterised by violence, abuse, aggression and intimidation. It can be regarded as a pattern of abusive behaviour, which is conducted by the perpetrator in an effort to control every aspect of the victim’s life and to maintain power over them. Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence victims are not solely female, as it can affect anyone regardless of their gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status.
Domestic violence can occur in a number of ways, where the purpose of the behaviour is to intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorise, coerce, threaten, harass or injure the person. The main types of domestic violence that occur can be categorised as follows:
Victims of domestic violence can take out an ADVO under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 to restrict the contact that they and any children have with a domestic violence perpetrator. ADVO’s offer protection to the victim as the perpetrator (defendant) cannot breach the conditions and restrictions that are placed. This is because it is a criminal offence to breach an ADVO and the police will therefore have grounds to arrest and charge the perpetrator.
In Australia, there are certain conditions that need to be proved to the court before a divorce can be granted. This includes proving that:
In cases of domestic violence, leeway’s towards the twelve month separation period may be made. This is because domestic violence is considered to be an aggravating factor before the law and keeping the victim/s safe is a priority. Similarly, the legal process for domestic violence cases generally disregards alternative dispute resolutions such as mediation, and the court proceedings may also be sped up to be finalised more quickly.
In matters where there is evidence of domestic violence, the presumption of shared parental responsibility is disregarded. This is because the court must consider the best interests of the child, and being in the presence of the perpetrator is not consistent with their best interests. It is therefore very likely that the partner subjected to domestic violence would be given sole custody of the child or children.
In conclusion, this article seeks to explain the meaning of domestic violence and the types of domestic violence that may occur. It also addresses the legal matters that may be of concern to victims of domestic violence. At Comasters Law Firm, we can help with applying for an ADVO and filing for a divorce, in a manner that is empathetic and in line with the client’s needs.
Comasters Law Firm can advise and assist clients with family law matters and will act in applications to the Family Court.
© Comasters October 2017.
Important: This is not advice. Clients should not act solely on the basis of the material contained in this paper. Our formal advice should be sought before acting on any aspect of the above information.