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Featuring: Commercial Litigation Associate, Georgia Taylor

Violence, Harassment and Threats – Steps to ensure your safety

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If you feel like you, a family member or a friend is a victim of harassment, violence or at threat there are ways that you can ensure safety.

What to do in Queensland

Firstly speak to the police and make them aware of what is happening. The reports may need to be referred to at a later date.

What if it is family member or spouse harassing me or being violent?

If the violence or harassment is coming from a spouse or family member a Protection Order needs to be in place. The victim, police officer or a friend or family member can apply for a protection order. This needs to be done at your Local Magistrates Court.

What behaviour is covered?

The Domestic Violence (Family Protection) Act defines domestic violence in the following way:

  • Wilful injury.
  • Wilful damage to property.
  • Intimidation and serious harassment
  • Indecent behaviour.
  • A threat to commit any of the above acts.

The protection order will put limits on what the person who is harassing or being violent to you. This will all be covered in the application at the court.

What if a neighbour, co worker or stranger is harassing me or casing a threat to my safety?

If it is a non-related party that is causing a threat to your safety you need to file a complaint under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act with your Local Magistrates Court.

If the complaint is sustained by the court a summons will be made and a date set for court, the summons is to be served on the person in question. The Magistrate will then review the matter and make relevant orders to ensure peace and good behaviour. The order usually is good for a 12 month period but this may differ depending on the circumstances.

Remember –the police cannot take any action if an offence is not committed but they can act if the peace and good behaviour act is violated.

What to do in New South Wales

Remember to firstly contact the police in relation to what has happened the report needs to be made and on file.

An Apprehended Violence Order is the order that needs to be obtained in NSW in the event of Violence or Harassment.

The order aims to protect a victim and their property. An AVO is sometimes called an Intervention Order, Restraining Order, Protection Order, Domestic Violence Order or Family Violence Order.

Apprehended Violence Orders Protect against the following

  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial restrictions or control
  • obsessive or jealous behaviour
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • Harassment.

What if it is my spouse that is causing a threat?

If you are married to or in a relationship with the person casing harassment and violence an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is needed.

What if it is not a spouse causing a threat?

 If there is a neighbour, friend, co-worker or stranger causing a treat to you or you feel intimidated for your safety you can obtain an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO).

The victim or a police officer can apply for an AVO, the victim will need to attend their local court to apply, the police have their own application process.

At most local courts there is a Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) that can help women seeking an AVO.

Once the application is filed there will be a date set to attend court.

Remember if you are under the age of 16 a police officer needs to complete the application for an AVO. 

If you require any further information or require legal representation at court, please do not hesitate to contact our Department Manager, Amanda Heather on direct line 07 5506 8245, email aheather@attwoodmarshall.com.au or free call 1800 621 071.

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