Our Legal Services

Family Law

Domestic Violence

This serious issue is being spoken about publicly more and more, which is fantastic considering there are quite literally tens of thousands of recorded cases around Australia each year.

Under no circumstances is domestic violence acceptable. We work together to ensure personal safety and protection. Here is what you need to know about Domestic Violence in Australia.

It is completely and utterly unacceptable, and should not ever occur. Underpinned by the notion of control, domestic abuse can take many forms and can have disastrous effects on the lives of adults and children. This is true for those who are unfortunate enough to experience it directly as well as those who witness occurrences happening to loved ones.


Taking care of necessary parenting arrangements.

State laws make provision for your personal safety, and can protect you and your children from family violence or abuse. Under domestic violence laws in Sydney and throughout Australia, it is possible to help keep a violent spouse or partner away through the issuing of an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order), sometimes known in other jurisdictions as a restraining order.

If, for any reason, you fear for your own safety or the safety of your children, our lawyers can advise you on obtaining AVOs for your safety and well-being and on the implication of AVOs in relation to parenting arrangements after domestic violence and separation. For example, AVOs may include conditions restricting the parent from entering or being near the child’s school, sporting club, etc.

Sometimes AVOs are sought inappropriately. If you are served with a Summons or Temporary Order one of our professional lawyers will also act on your behalf in Court if you need to defend the making of an AVO against you, should this be necessary. We recognise that some AVOs can impose unfair or highly damaging conditions on the subject of the order, and are prepared to fight for fairer orders in order to help uphold the integrity of the system.


Domestic Violence in Australia

What do I do if I am suffering from domestic violence?

Leaving an abusive relationship may not be immediate, but the first step is to remember you are not alone, and you can utilise all the resources around you. You should ensure a third party knows about the domestic violence and also seek help to assist you in effectively dealing with your perpetrator. A combination of the following is advisable:

  • Report incidents to police.
  • Speak to a trusted friend, family member or colleague.
  • Phone 1800RESPECT (Australian counselling service for family violence).
  • Seek legal advice –Victims Access Line (1800 633 063) or Redfern Legal Centre ((02) 9698 7277).

If you do decide to leave, and you do not have somewhere to stay, contact the NSW Women’s Refuge Resource Centre (1800 656 463). If you seek legal

Domestic Violence in Australia

What are signs of abuse?

There is no one size fits all approach to spotting abuse and some victims are able to hide their abuse from family and friends very well. Some signs may include:

  • Withdrawing from friends, family and social settings.
  • Unusually irate responses or other major personality changes.
  • Seeming anxious around their partner.
  • Frequently checking in with their partner.
  • Rarely going out in public without their partner.
  • Having to “ask” their partner to spend money on everyday items.
  • Physical cuts, bruises and other injuries that are explained as “accidents”.
  • Dressing in long clothing even on hot days (hiding injuries).

If you suspect a friend or family member are suffering domestic violence, speak to them in private, offer them your support and ask if they need your assistance. By speaking up, you might save a life.

Domestic Violence in Australia

How do you deal with violence? 

Family violence can take many forms, including physical violence, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse, threatening behaviour or financial and social control. It can also occur in the context of any kind of domestic relationship between family members. If you or a person you know is in immediate danger, contact 000 immediately and ask to speak to the Police.

If you feel unsafe and find you are in a situation where a family member is exhibiting abusive behaviour, keeping yourself safe is the most important consideration during this time. Making a simple safety plan can involve finding a place to stay that is safe and distant from the perpetrator of family violence.

If possible, make arrangements to stay with a trusted friend or family member, or if that is not possible find a refuge that can provide you with temporary accommodation while you consider your next steps and seek legal advice. You can obtain more information on sourcing legal advice by  contacting 1800RESPECT for information and support either by phoning 1800 737 732 or by visiting https://www.1800respect.org.au and using the online chat function.

If you have children, it is important to talk to them and inform them of steps they can take to be safer at home if there is a risk of them being subjected to any form of violence by a family member.

Domestic Violence in Australia

How do you fight a domestic violence case?

If you are engaged in separation or divorce proceedings and the other party makes an allegation of family violence that you assert is false, you will likely have to respond to this allegation in Court.  A lawyer will assist you in collecting appropriate evidence and witness statements to address allegations of family violence and will assist you in knowing your rights and options at law. You may need to consult a family lawyer and/or a criminal lawyer depending on the nature of the allegations made.


What happens to first time domestic violence offenders?

A  Family Violence Order (FVO) is not a criminal conviction, although it imposes certain restrictions which may be onerous.  The Order may have an impact on you by affecting care arrangements with any children you may have or any immigration matters you may be engaged with. It may also affect any security clearances that you have for your employment or Working with Vulnerable People cards that you hold. Accordingly you should always obtain legal advice about how to best deal with the Order made against you and how it will impact upon you moving forward.

However, if an FVO is in place and if you breach the terms of that FVO, then you must remember that you could be charged by the Police with a criminal offence if the police decide that there is enough evidence to convict you with a Family Violence charge. In this case, you should consult a criminal lawyer for advice in relation to the charge as soon as possible.



  • If at any time you’re assaulted, intimidated or harassed by your spouse, or you fear that it’s likely to happen, then swift action can be taken under State Laws to obtain a domestic violence order (AVO) for your protection. Please speak to us freely of any fears you have so we can advise you about what can be done to alleviate your concerns.

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