Applying for a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) if you are experiencing domestic violence can help protect you and your children. These orders contain conditions that are legally enforceable which means it will allow the police to intervene. It becomes a chargeable offence only if the person who is violent does not follow them and you are placed at risk. Generally you can choose the conditions you want, e.g. not to come 100 metres near the house or near you. An applicant can pursue a permanent DVO of up to 24 months at maximum.
When applying for a protection order you may be required to attend Court on several occasions. The first step that happens is an application for an interim order. Either the police or yourself can apply for this and you will have to attend what the Court calls A MENTION which makes conditions enforceable as soon as the paperwork is served by Police on the person who is violent. Usually if they agree the Protection Order will be put into place. However if the offender feels that the order is not fair or wants it to be amended this will be decided by the Court at A HEARING. You will be required to present at Court and witnesses may be called at this point. An applicant can pursue a permanent DVO of up to 24 months at maximum.
Once the DVO is in place the offender is said to have ‘breached” the Order if any of the conditions are not followed. At this time the police will need to be contacted and the offender can be picked up for this breach. It is only at this stage that the police will determine that a “crime” has been committed and the offender will be charged for this crime.
It is important for you to think and plan before applying for a DVO. Sometimes you will need to consider whether or not taking this action will place you at further risk of violence and whether or not you are prepared to call Police every time there is a breach of the conditions of the DVO. The majority of perpetrators of violence will follow the DVO as they know that legally they could be charged with a crime if they breached the Order. We would suggest that you speak about it with the agency who will be supporting you.
Until the DVO is in place it might be advisable that you take extra care to keep yourself safe. Staying with family or friends would be something to consider or ensuring that you not communicate with the offender. Often offenders will pressure the applicant to withdraw the DVO, but we know from experience that offenders are more than likely to feel that they have to follow the conditions listed. At Liverpool Court there is a Domestic Violence Court Support Room where you and any accompanying children can be supported and feel safe until your case is heard.
There are various services who offer practical support to help you go through the process.
The following services are available to people who are at risk of homelessness.