Brisbane Domestic Violence Lawyer
Courtney Barton is the Principal and Founder of Barton Family Lawyers. Domestic Violence is Courtney’s area of expertise. As a Brisbane domestic violence lawyer with over ten years’ experience in family law and domestic violence matters, Courtney Barton has guided and supported countless victims of domestic violence, coercive & controlling behaviour & narcissistic abuse.
Courtney and her team work closely with her Mother, Nova Gibson of Brighter Outlook Counselling, who is a narcissistic abuse counselling specialist. Nova does a free live stream Q n A on Facebook each Thursday night in relation to narcissistic abuse. Courtney and Nova provide a holistic service including legal advice and counselling in order to ensure your physical safety is protected whilst preserving your physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. Courtney and Nova help clients like you who are experiencing domestic violence, coercive & controlling behaviour & narcissistic abuse, to feel safe and to take your power back.
If you have concerns around remaining safe from your abuser, please call Barton Family Lawyers on (07)34659332 to arrange an urgent appointment to discuss your individual circumstances with one of our domestic violence lawyers Brisbane.
DVO Success Stories
Prepared and filed numerous protection order applications and obtained temporary protections orders that same day.
Obtained an ouster order evicting the perpetrator, allowing the victim to reenter the home & excluding the perpetrator from returning.
Successfully secured countless domestic violence orders for victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse/narcissistic abuse & coercive & controlling behavior.
Successfully secured protection orders in financial abuse cases where the perpetrator has been ordered to pay spousal maintenance to the victim.
Obtained a temporary protection order enabling the victim to return to the home to collect the furniture & personal belongings.
Obtained protection orders preventing the perpetrator from attending the victim’s residence, work place and places and the victims frequents.
Obtained protection orders preventing the perpetrator from approaching the victim within 100m.
Obtained protection orders with the children’s names on the order & preventing the perpetrator from having contact with the children or approaching the children’s school save for where there is written agreement between the parties or a court order.
Obtained a temporary protection order for a victim of financial abuse providing them with lump sum spouse support of $10,000.
Obtained protection orders preventing the perpetrator from contacting the victim or asking someone else to contact them.
Obtained protection orders preventing the perpetrator from publishing pictures of defamatory comments about the victim to others, including on social media.
Obtained protection orders which prevent the perpetrator from owing a gun and from working in a workplace where guns are used.
Obtained a protection order suspending a family court order & preventing the perpetrator from having any form of contact with the children except by written agreement or further court order.
Successfully defended a frivolous and vexatious application for a protection order designed by the perpetrator to limit the victims contact with the children.
Successfully secured protection orders for a period of 5 years for victims of narcissistic abuse preventing the perpetrator from having any form of contact.
Successfully negotiated with countless perpetrators to consent to protection orders without admission, therefore avoiding the need for a hearing.
Successfully secured various protection orders for victims after a hearing and cross examination where the judge made findings that the perpetrator committed acts of domestic violence.
Successfully defended frivolous cross-applications for protection orders filed by the perpetrator.
Achieved a variation of a protection order to add more extensive conditions to the order.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Domestic Violence Application (Protection Order Application)?
A Domestic Violence Application is an application for a Domestic Violence Order (DVO), otherwise known as a Protection Order.
What is a Domestic Violence Order and what does it do?
A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is a Protection Order made by a Court that sets out rules that the respondent (the person who has committed domestic violence against you) must obey.
The purpose of a DVO is to keep the aggrieved (the person who has experienced domestic violence) safe by restraining the respondent from committing acts of domestic violence.
What are the conditions of a Domestic Violence Order?
A Domestic Violence Order can have a variety of conditions. The primary condition included on all DVO’s is that the respondent must be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence towards the aggrieved. Other conditions can include prohibitions against the respondent from going within a certain distance of the aggrieved, or of the home or workplace of the aggrieved, a prohibition from approaching relatives or friends of the aggrieved (if named in the order) or going to a child’s school or day care centre.
The respondent may also be restrained from contacting the aggrieved, or attempting to contact the aggrieved, or from locating the aggrieved, or from making derogatory comments about the aggrieved on social media.
What is domestic violence?
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 defines domestic violence as violent behaviour by a person (the defendant) towards another when they have a domestic or family relationship.
Domestic Violence includes Physical or Sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse and conduct that is threatening, intimidating, coercive, dominating, or controlling.
Importantly, domestic violence includes a wide range of coercive and controlling behaviours that causes a person to fear for their safety and wellbeing.
Examples of Domestic violence include:
- Causing physical injury to a person or threatening to do so;
- Forcing a person to engage in sexual activity;
- Depriving them of their liberty;
- Stalking or unlawfully monitoring that person is conduct that is also considered to be domestic violence
- Verbally abusing a person by yelling at them and calling them names;
- Threatening to commit suicide;
- Controlling a person’s use of money;
- Telling a person where they are allowed to go, what they are allowed to do, who they are allowed to see and when they must be home;
- Gaslighting e.g. making a person feel like they are crazy or that they are the perpetrator of domestic violence (e.g. where there is reactive abuse).
For more information as to what specific behaviour falls within the definition of domestic violence, check out the Qld Courts Page.
Who can apply for a Domestic Violence Order?
In order to apply for a protection order and for the behaviour to be considered domestic violence, the violence you have been exposed must have occurred in any of the following relationships:
- An intimate personal relationship;
- A family relationship;
- An informal care relationship (for example one person who is or was depending on another person for help with daily living activities where the person is not a paid carer).
Types of Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs)
There are two types of Domestic Violence Orders, including a Protection Order and a Temporary Protection Order.
A protection order is a DVO made by a Magistrate in Court. It is usually made for a period of five years or it may be made for a shorter or longer period if the Court considers it appropriate.
A Temporary Protection Order is a DVO made urgently for the protection of the aggrieved for a shorter period of time (usually a couple of months), until a Final Hearing. Magistrates’ cannot making findings of fact (i.e. they cannot determine who is telling the truth and who is not) until a Final Hearing. Temporary Protection Orders are therefore commonly made until such time as the Final Hearing can take place, when the Magistrate has the ability to assess the evidence in full, listen to cross-examination of the parties and determine your application for a Protection Order.
How do I file a Domestic Violence Order Application (DVO Application)?
You can file a domestic violence order application in your local magistrates Court.
The Application can be accessed on the Queensland Courts website.
How are domestic violence cases handled? What role do the police play in DVO’s?
After your application is filed, it will be served by the police on the other party. In some circumstances, a temporary DVO will be made prior to the first ‘Mention’ date.
Once your application for a DVO is filed, you will receive a date for your first court appearance, which you are required to attend.
If the police apply for a DVO on your behalf, a police prosecutor will prosecute the application for you in court.
If you have engaged a lawyer, they will represent you in Court.
Your first court appearance is called a Mention. Your matter will be listed for the first Mention within a couple of weeks of your application being filed.
At the Mention, the Magistrate will ask you some questions about your application.
Are children included in DVO’s?
Yes, the court may list children as names parties to a Protection Order if the children have been abused or exposed to domestic and family violence.
What happens if someone files a Domestic Violence Order Application against me?
If someone lodges an application for a domestic violence order against you, you are the ‘respondent’. A police officer will give you a copy of the application. You should read the application carefully. The application against you will include all the allegations made against you by the aggrieved and a date and time that you are required to attend court.
If you receive an application and fail to attend court, the court is able to make a protection order or a temporary protection order against you in your absence. A Magistrate may also issue a warrant for the police to arrest you and bring you to court.
You can object to a Domestic Violence Order being made against you and have the matter adjourned (postponed) for a Final Hearing at a later date.
Your main options include:
- Ask for an adjournment while you seek legal advice, in which case a Temporary DVO will most likely be made to protect the aggrieved until the next court date;
- Consent to the DVO being made, without admitting to the facts alleged against you or that you have committed domestic violence;
- Disagree with making the protection order, in which case the Magistrate will list the matter for a Hearing to determine the application. A Temporary DVO may be made until the Final Hearing:
- If the other party agrees to withdraw their application, you can sign an undertaking (promise) to the court which can be on the same or similar conditions to the protection Order.
The last option is the best option in the case that a protection order application is filed against you as it means the protection order application is withdrawn. Breach of an undertaking also does not have the same severe consequences as breach of a DVO.
How do Domestic Violence Laws work in Queensland? How do you prove a Domestic Violence Case?
To succeed in your application for a Domestic Violence Order, you need to be able to show the court that you are:
- In a relevant relationship (see above ‘Who can apply for a DVO’);
- experiencing domestic violence (see above ‘What behaviours are considered domestic violence’);
- In need of protection i.e. that an order is necessary or desirable to protect you from future domestic violence by the respondent.
The Court can make a DVO if a respondent consents to a DVO being made or otherwise, if a court determines at a Final Hearing that an order is necessary and/or desirable to protect the aggrieved from the respondent.
The most important factor the court will consider in determining whether an order is necessary and desirable to protect you from the respondent is whether there is extensive evidence to show that the risk of future domestic violence is significant in all circumstances. If the risk is deemed to be significant, then to make a domestic violence order is necessary and desirable. The Following cases are relevant to how a Magistrate determines these issues: GKE v EUT QDC 248 and TJA v TJF  QDC 244.
Do I need a Lawyer to represent me? How do you win a DV case?
It is always advisable to seek legal advice when lodging an application for a DVO against another party, in order to maximise prospects of success.
We can advise you as to whether your application contains sufficient information to satisfy a Court that an order is necessary and desirable to protect you from the respondent. If further information or evidence is required to further the prospects of success of your application, we can point you in the right direction and help update your documents, so that the Court is more likely to grant you a DVO in the terms you are asking the Court to make.
It is very important that your application and your affidavit (filed prior to a Trial) is prepared with particular specificity in relation to the allegations you have made, otherwise your application may be thrown out or unsuccessful.
We are experienced in preparing these types of applications and affidavits and can help you to obtain orders necessary to protect your safety and your children’s safety.
We can also assist by representing you in court and negotiating an agreement with the other party so as to avoid the necessity for a Trial.
Click here to view our article on how to increase your prospects of success in relation to Domestic Violence Order Applications.
Breaches of an order
If the respondent breaches any of the conditions in the DVO in place for your safety, you should call the police immediately.
The police will investigate the domestic violence and have the power to charge the respondent with breaching the DVO.
It is a criminal offence to disobey any of the conditions in a DVO. If you are found guilty of breaching a condition of a DVO, you may be charged with a criminal offence and you may face up to three years in jail for a first offence, and up to five years in jail if you breach the DVO again within five years.
How does family violence affect children?
Exposing children to family violence can take many forms, including:
- being subjected to deliberate or accidental violence
- overhearing violence
- intervening on behalf of a parent or other person, and
- experiencing the aftermath of violence, such as being cared for by a distressed or withdrawn parent
- helping to care for a hurt or distressed parent
- seeing injuries and/or property damage
- helping clean up mess or damage
- going to the doctor or hospital with an injured parent
- being present when police or emergency services attend, and/or
- being asked to not tell anyone about the event.
What effects can family violence have on parenting behaviour?
A parent being exposed to violence can result in the victim parent:
- changing the way they parent in front of the abusive parent to avoid more anger and abuse
- being less able to meet the child/ren’s needs due to the stress of the abuse
- experiencing depression and other mental health problems that can affect parenting, and
- using harsh discipline due to stress (this has been found to stop when the family is safe).
Children generally experience more than one type of exposure to family violence. This may be different for each family, or for children within the same family, or at different times within the same family.
Perpetrators of family violence frequently:
- use coercive and manipulative tactics
- are inconsistent with discipline
- use hard discipline
- express anger towards the child/ren, and
- are not involved in parenting.
What effects does family violence have on children?
Research shows that children who have been exposed to family violence have more extreme levels of emotional and behavioural problems than children who have not. Children who are in violent homes are also at a higher risk of physical abuse or having their physical and emotional needs neglected.
Younger children are more vulnerable than older children because they are with their parents more frequently, and are more dependent on their parents for care and protection. Teenagers exposed to family violence may be more aggressive to their parents and other acquaintances and constantly be at greater risk of retaliation.
When Children are exposed to family violence, they are at risk of:
- having difficulties controlling their emotions
- developing depression or antisocial problems such as delinquency or violent behaviours
- having a poor relationship with both parents
- developing poor reading and language skills, and
- making and maintaining friendships.
In circumstances where family violence is combined with other issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse and mental health concerns, children are at an even higher risk of developing emotional, behavioural, social and educational problems.
Can I bring a support person or friend to court?
Yes you can bring a support person with you to court. Your support person needs to be an adult, they can be a friend, family, someone from a support group or a professional counselor. The support person cannot be someone who is involved in your matter that may have to provide evidence at some point in the court proceedings. The other party in your matter may object to your support person. In these circumstances the judge will decide.
Do I have to tell the Court about family violence?
You should be open and honest with the Court about any domestic and family violence you have perpetrated against the other party.
If you are dishonest about events that have occurred, and the matter proceeds to a Hearing, the Court may make findings against you that you perpetrated acts of domestic violence against the other party. If this happens, this can have a negative impact on your ability to spend time with your children, if/when family court proceedings are initiated.
If you are honest about domestic violence you have perpetrated, this will enable your lawyer to give you more holistic advice about the risks of you proceeding to hearing in which case, you may be advised that it is in your interests to consent to an order without admission, to avoid the court making findings against you at a hearing that you were the perpetrator of domestic violence.
Is there somewhere I can contact to get advice on court processes and parenting orders when there have been instances of family violence?
If you are seeking advice on the court process or advice on parenting orders and family violence, we highly recommend booking in with an experienced family lawyer. Alternatively, there are a number of community legal centers across Brisbane that may be able to answer some of your questions.
Click here to watch our free information video on what you need to know about DVO’s.
What if a family law order is made that is inconsistent with a family violence order?
A magistrate has the power to revive, vary, discharge or suspend family law orders, or a portion of those orders, in accordance with Section 68R of the Family Law Act. We recommend contacting your lawyer for advice in relation to your individual circumstances.
What is a child protection order?
A child protection order is a direction from a court requiring or authorising someone to do or not do something. This may include things such as giving Child Safety Services the custody or guardianship of a child or providing authority to place a child in alternate care.
I or someone I am close to is experiencing family violence. what can I do?
If you, a friend, family member or your children are experiencing family violence, contact the police immediately to seek support in applying for a protection order. In some circumstances the Police are willing to lodge an application for a Domestic Violence Order on your behalf.
You can also seek help and support from domestic and family violence services such as DV Connect by contacting them on 1800 811 811, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, we strongly encourage you to contact us and book an appointment as soon as possible with one of our experienced Brisbane Domestic Violence Lawyers to obtain legal advice about your right to obtain a domestic violence order to protect your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
Someone has disclosed family violence and may already have received help, but may need assistance with other services. Where else can they get help?
You can seek help and support from domestic and family violence services such as DV Connect by contacting them on 1800 811 811, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I have been/I am experiencing family violence and have an upcoming court case. Where can I get support for my court event?
The safety of you and your family is the courts priority. If you have concerns for your safety, it important that you contact the court as soon as possible and they will discuss what arrangements are available to enable you to feel safe while you are attending court.
There is a safe room available at the Court house that you can remain in for the entirety of your court event, to protect your safety.
Also speak to the duty lawyer when you arrive at court about their ability to represent you on the day, so as to avoid you having to enter the court room.
Do most domestic violence cases go to trial? What usually happens in a domestic violence case?
In our experience, most domestic violence cases will settle prior to trial (Hearing) on a consent without admission basis. This means that the Respondent to the application consents to the order being made but does not admit to the allegations you have made. Less than 50% of domestic violence matters proceed to trial.
If your matter is proceeding to trial, we recommend you obtain advice from an experienced domestic violence lawyer about the next steps you need to take to maximise the prospects of obtaining a Protection order in your favour.
How do most domestic violence cases end?
If the court deems domestic violence was perpetrated by the respondent against the aggrieved, and the Court considers that a protection order is necessary and desirable to protect the aggrieved, the Court will make a final protection order for a period up to 5 years.
In most matters that proceed to a Hearing (that is more often than not) the Court will make findings that the respondent has committed acts of domestic violence. In those circumstances, it is highly likely that the Court will determine that a domestic violence order is necessary and desirable to protect the aggrieved.
Can domestic violence cases be dropped before court?
If the Applicant withdraws their application for a domestic violence order, the case will be dropped.
Why would a domestic violence case be dismissed? What percentage of domestic violence cases get dismissed?
A court may dismiss an application for a protection order if the Court is not provided with enough evidence / particularization of the incidents of domestic violence by the respondent towards the aggrieved.
Very few applications are ever dismissed by a Court.
The only circumstances we have seen where an application for a domestic violence order has been dismissed are where there are no domestic violence allegations disclosed in the application.
This is because the Judge can’t determine who is telling the truth and who is not about the allegations made, until the matter goes to a Hearing.
The Court prefers to have the matter listed for Hearing to determine the Application on its merits, after the Judge has had the opportunity to hear cross-examination from both parties at which point the Judge can make findings as to whether domestic violence did or did not occur and whether in the circumstances a domestic violence order is necessary and desirable.
What happens to first time domestic violence offenders?
If the court finds that the Respondent has perpetrated domestic violence against the aggrieved (whether it is one incident or many incidents) and the incident has occurred recently, it is likely that the court will deem that a protection order is necessary and desirable in your favour.
Do I need evidence of domestic violence to secure a DVO?
No. Whilst evidence is very helpful to your case (for example text messages from the respondent or medical reports proving your injuries sustained) it is not a requirement in order to secure a DVO against your perpetrator.
The Court’s recognize that not all domestic violence is physical. Domestic Violence including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation and coercive and controlling behaviour is often covert and takes place behind closed doors, with no witnesses.
Click here to view our article on how to increase your prospects of success on Domestic Violence Order Applications.
What happens if a DVO is breached?
Breaching a Domestic Violence Order is a serious offence and it could result in imprisonment.
What happens to first time offenders who breach a domestic violence order?
It depends on the severity of the breach. Minor breaches will incur nominal penalties whereas significant breaches of a DVO may incur a fine, bond, community service or even jail time.
Can the police press charges if the victim doesn’t want to? What happens if someone doesn’t want to press charges? Can charges be dropped before court?
If a domestic violence order is breached, the victim has the right to contact the police and report the breach.
The police do not have to obtain the victim’s consent to charge you with breach of a DVO.
Even if the victim does not want the police to press charges against you, the police can still press charges against you.
Charges can be dropped before court but this is very unlikely.
Can a Prosecutor drop all charges before a trial? Can a prosecutor drop an application for a domestic violence order made on behalf of the victim?
Yes the prosecutor can drop charges before a trial for breach of a DVO. But it is highly unlikely and only if there was no evidence to support a guilty finding.
The police prosecutor can also drop an application for a DVO against you, however it is also extremely unlikely. We have never seen it happen. This is because the police prosecutor is there to act as an advocate for the victim (and that does not mean taking instructions from the victim as to whether they want to the DVO). It is not generally assessed as being in the victim’s interests, regardless of the victim’s personal views, to withdraw the domestic violence order application made on their behalf.
Even in circumstances where the victim has requested for the police prosecutor to withdraw the application, in our experience, the police prosecutor will not withdraw it.
What happens if charges are dropped?
There is no longer a charge against you for breach of the DVO / there is no longer an application before the court for a protection order to be made against you. You do not have to attend court following the charges/application being dropped.
What happens if the victim refuses to testify?
The police can still pursue the charges/application without the victim’s testimony. This may/may not affect the outcome of the Hearing.
Want more information?
If you are seeking more information, check out the following links:
- Can the court order someone to leave a house – ouster orders;
- DVOs – how to boost your chances of success;
- Family Violence Orders ;
- What is family violence;
- The effect of family violence on children
- Where to get help
Click here to print an Application for a Protection Order.
Domestic Violence is Courtney’s area of expertise. As a domestic violence lawyer with over ten years’ experience in family law and domestic violence matters, Courtney Barton has guided and supported countless victims of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse.