Family & Relationship Law 30 March 2020

COVID-19, isolation and family violence – protecting yourself and your family

What is family violence?

Family Violence may take a number of forms, and is not limited to physical violence.  It incorporates many behaviours, including but not limited to:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Emotional or psychological abuse;
  • Financial abuse or control;
  • Threatening behaviour;
  • Coercive behaviour;
  • Controlling or dominating behaviour that causes that person to fear for their safety or wellbeing, or that of another person;

Family violence also encompasses any behaviour that exposes a child to any of the above behaviours.

Family Violence Intervention Orders

A Family Violence Intervention Order is an Order made pursuant to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) which prevents people from engaging in harassing, intimidating and/or threatening communication and may ultimately prevent a person from having any contact with a family member.

Family members include people who share an intimate relationship whether there is a sexual relationship or not, parents, children, relatives by birth, marriage or adoption, carers, guardians or a relative within the family structure of their culture.

The granting of a Family Violence Intervention Order is a civil matter, however, it becomes a criminal matter if the Intervention Order is breached, and the consequences can include a period of imprisonment.  An Intervention Order is breached if the person against whom the Intervention Order is made does not follow one or more of the terms is of the Intervention Order.

COVID-19 and Family Violence

Research demonstrates that the incidence of family violence increases during and after a pandemic, and it is anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic will be no different.  Women’s Safety NSW has already reported a dramatic increase in both the demand and complexity of family violence cases since the outbreak of COVID-19.

In the event you or your children have suffered and/or are suffering from family violence, it may be necessary for you to consider making an Application for an Intervention Order.  To do so, you can attend or contact your local Magistrates’ Court.  The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria will hear these Applications (for a first Court date) within fourteen (14) days.

Coulter Legal is able to assist you to prepare any application for an Intervention Order, urgent or otherwise, during this unprecedented time, and will support you throughout your matter.  If you would like more information about you what you can do to protect you and your family please contact us on (03) 5273 5273 to speak to our experienced lawyers.  We are pleased to offer a no cost initial consultation which can be conducted by telephone or Skype.

In the event you or your family are in imminent danger, please contact Victoria Police urgently on 000.

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