The Law Society of NSW Specialist Accredititation 

Family Violence

Part of the role of the Family and Federal Magistrates Courts, is to ensure issues about family violence are addressed promptly and with priority, especially in matters involving a child or children.

Anyone who experiences domestic violence, or is at risk of exposure to domestic violence, is entitled to protection. These issues are dealt with under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

If you or your children are in circumstances where domestic violence is occurring, or there is a real risk of it occurring, then you should call Police immediately. The law is designed to protect those that feel threatened or unsafe in domestic situations, and the Police will often obtain interim Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO) from the Local Court, for persons in need of protection.

In the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court, a Family Violence Order can be sought, to provide similar protection.

The Family Law Act was amended in 2012 to expand the definition of family violence to include behaviour relating to financial control.

ADVO's can provide (amongst other things) that a person must not:

  1. assault, harass, stalk or intimidate a person;
  2. limit the circumstances and terms of any communication and contact between the parties
  3. stop a person from coming near your home or where you work;
  4. direct an individual to give up their firearms.

The Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court also have the power to order injunctions. These may restrain behaviour and also provide for one person to live in, and make use of the home, where both once lived as a couple. This can be short-term or longer term.

The main objective of the Court in children's matters is the best interest of the children, and accordingly protecting a child from family violence is a primary consideration for the Court.

If you have immediate concerns about your safety and/or your children, contact the Police. They may provide additional information and referral to other services and may assist you in applying to the Court for appropriate Orders.