Contravention of Domestic Violence Order

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2021 allows a court to make a domestic violence order to provide protection against further domestic violence and imposes consequences for a contravention of the order.


What is Domestic Violence?

“Domestic Violence” means behaviour by a person (the first person) towards another person (the second person) with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that:

(a) Is physically or sexually abusive; or
(b) Is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
(c) Is economically abusive; or
(d) Is threatening; or
(e) Is coercive; or
(f) In any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for the second person’s safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.

It also includes the following behaviour:

(a) Causing personal injury to a person or threatening to do so;
(b) Coercing a person to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so;
(c) Damaging a person’s property or threatening to do so;
(d) Depriving a person of the person’s liberty or threatening to do so;
(e) Threatening a person with the death or injury of the person, a child of the person or someone else;
(f) Threatening to commit suicide or self-harm so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the behaviour is directed;
(g) Causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the person to whom the behaviour is directed, so as to control, dominate or coerce the person;
(h) Unauthorised surveillance of a person; or
(i) Unlawfully stalking a person

A prerequisite to the making of a domestic violence order is that a relevant relationship exists between the aggrieved and the respondent.

A relevant relationship is:

(a) An intimate personal relationship; or
(b) A family relationship; or
(c) An informal care relationship.

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What constitutes a Contravention of a Domestic Violence Order?

There is a wide range of conduct that can constitute a contravention of a domestic violence order.

Firstly, a respondent may contravene the mandatory conditions which require a respondent to be of good behaviour and not commit acts of domestic violence towards the aggrieved. A respondent may also contravene any one of a number of additional conditions which may be included as part of the domestic violence order. These conditions may prohibit a respondent from contacting an aggrieved, approaching an aggrieved, attending the residence or place of work of the aggrieved.

In order to be convicted of an offence of breaching the order, the respondent must have been present in court when the order was made or served with a copy of the order or told about the existence of the order by a police officer (s177(1)). The respondent may be told of the order by a police officer in any way, including by telephone, email, SMS, a social networking site or other electronic means.


What penalty can be imposed for breach of a Domestic Violence Order?

Contravention of Domestic Violence Order charges are usually heard and determined in the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty for contravention of an order is 120 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment unless the respondent has been previously convicted of a breach within the preceding five years. In the latter case, the maximum penalty increases to 240 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment.

Our Criminal

Macrossan & Amiet

Steven Hayles

Brigid Paterson

Call (07) 4944 2000