Get expert advice and representation for Family Violence Offences from Pascoe Criminal Law
Offences which frequently occur in the context of a family violence incident include unlawful assaults, stalking, using a mobile phone or computer to harass, threats to kill, Breach Family Violence Intervention Order and others.
How family violence is defined under the legislation
Under the Family Violence Protect Act 2008 (Vic), "family violence" is defined as:
(a) behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour”
(i) is physically or sexually abusive; or
(ii) is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
(iii) is economically abusive; or
(iv) is threatening; or
(v) is coercive; or
(vi) in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or well-being of that family member or another person; or
(b) behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph (a).
What steps do police take in response to family violence complaint?
Usually, when a complaint is made to police about an allegation of family violence, the police will attend and serve a Family Violence Safety Notice on the party to whom the complaint has been made (the respondent). After the respondent has been served with a Family Violence Safety Notice, the police will usually apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order against the respondent, and on behalf of the affected family member (the AFM). The application is made at Magistrates' Court, and the respondent is required to attend that hearing.
What happens at Court?
At Court, the presiding Magistrate will inquire as to whether the respondent consents or disputes the application for a Final Intervention Order. Where the case is disputed, the Court will adjourn the application usually for a Directions Hearing to a future date and Order an Interim Intervention Order in the meantime. This Interim Intervention Order will usually be in the conditions sought by the police, although some negotiation as to the conditions of an Interim Order may be negotiated. An application for a Final Order is determined at the conclusion of a contested hearing unless a respondent consents to an Order. Legal advice should always be obtained to determine whether it is appropriate for a respondent to consent to a Final Order, and it is common for consent to be given on a without admission basis.
The interplay between criminal and family law about family violence offences
Frequently, allegations of family violence occur during the context of a relationship breakdown and subsequent separation, and the situation can become more fraught where there are children of the relationship. An allegation of family violence is not only relevant to any potential criminal proceeding but can also be relevant to the Family Court’s determination of a custody dispute (referred to as a contact or residence litigation under in Family Law proceedings).
Where an intervention order is served because of a family violence allegation, it is critical to get advice about how an adverse finding might affect any future Family Law case.
It is important to get prompt advice as to how to respond to a Family Violence Intervention Order (FV IVO), as discussed above a decision to contest or consent to a FV Intervention Order can have implications beyond simply the prospect of criminal charges.
If you have been served an FV IVO, it is important to get advice urgently so that all relevant matters can be discussed holistically.
At Pascoe Criminal Law we have extensive experience defending family violence offences and intervention orders, and would be happy to discuss any allegation with you during an obligation free case assessment.
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