What To Do If You Experience Domestic Violence
Posted: 4th June 2019
Posted in: News
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
Domestic Violence is unfortunately very common in the breakdown of a marriage or the separation of couples and families. Through changes in the Family Law system, the Government has shown its commitment to take action to prevent Domestic Violence and protect the victims when they come forward. Domestic Violence is not tolerated and there is a wide range of relief available through the State Magistrates Court and the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court. They have outlined what to do if you experience domestic violence.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing Domestic Violence, contact the Queensland Police Service. There is also support available for victims of Domestic Violence through the DVConnect helpline.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is behaviour that coerces, controls or causes a person to be afraid for their or someone else’s safety or wellbeing. It is not limited to physical harm. Unfortunately, many do not know what to do when they experience domestic violence because they don’t know what constitutes it.
Here Are Some Examples of Domestic Violence
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
- Threatening to harm a person, their children or their property
- Driving dangerously to scare a person in the vehicle
- Threatening to share intimate images or videos of a person
- Threatening to disclose personal information about a person
- Hitting, punching, kicking or bashing a person
- Throwing things at a person that causes harm
- Choking or suffocating a person
- Withholding food, medicine or not allowing a person to sleep
- Stalking, following, watching or monitoring a person
- Using video surveillance, webcams, drones or other recording devices to record a person without their consent
- Constantly tracking a person’s movements through GPS devices or inbuilt GPS settings on a phone without their permission
- Restricting a person’s use of their vehicle or telephone with the intent of isolating them
- Stopping someone from seeing or contacting their friends or family, or by being rude to their friends or family to alienate them
Damage to Property
- Punching walls, breaking windows, kicking in doors or trashing the house
- Breaking a person’s telephone or cutting the telephone line when they try to call for help
Indecent Behaviour Without Consent
- Touching a person or kissing them without their consent
- Forcing or pressuring a person to have sex or do something sexual they don’t want to
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What To Do When A Domestic Violence Occurs?
1. Contact your local police station if you feel that you are in immediate danger. In some instances, Queensland Police will remove the offending party from the home. The Police will listen to you and have the tools to help you make the decision that is in your best interests in you are a victim of Domestic Violence.
2. Seek legal advice. Your situation may be one where an Ouster Order can be sought. This is an Order whereby the other party must leave or be removed from the home – even if they own the home or it is rented in their name. An Order will be made by the Court that you as a victim of Domestic Violence have sole use and occupation of the home.
Family Law solicitors can file an Application for a Protection Order in the Magistrates Court or an Application in the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court. Domestic Violence may also be relevant to other issues in respect of parenting and property.
Related Article: Domestic Violence
How To Keep Safe
- Always remember that your safety and the safety of your children is the priority.
- Speak to neighbours you know and trust who can call the police in instances when they see or hear domestic violence occurring.
- Have a safe place to go to if you need to leave your home.
- Keep a list of important phone numbers that you can call, such as local police stations, hospitals, and crisis accommodation centres.
- Pack an escape bag in case you need to leave the house quickly.
For many who have not gone through this ordeal, leaving the toxic situation may not be that easy. The truth is, it’s easier said than done. In fact, immediately after a separation is the time when there is the highest risk of violence. Furthermore, if you have been in the cycle for far too long, there’s a part of you that accepts the circumstance and you tend to not want to know what to do when you experience domestic violence.
Contact your local authorities if you do not know what to do if you experience Domestic Violence or if you know anyone who suffers from this unfortunate circumstance.
If you need legal advice about Domestic Violence, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.