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How do I apply for a domestic violence order?

You can apply for a domestic violence order yourself or get a police officer, solicitor or authorised person (friend, relative, community/welfare worker) to apply for you.

You should get legal advice before applying for a domestic violence order. Legal Aid Queensland provides free legal advice and may be able to help you get a domestic violence order.

How can the police help?

If the police suspect domestic violence has been committed they must investigate your complaint. If after they’ve investigated they reasonably believe that domestic violence has been committed they can:

1. Charge the respondent with a criminal offence

The police can charge the respondent with a criminal offence (eg stalking, assault, grievous bodily harm etc) if they believe it would be more appropriate to deal with the behaviour through the criminal law system. If they do charge the respondent with a criminal offence, their bail conditions may stop them from having contact with you.

2. Issue a police protection notice

This is issued on the spot and protects you immediately from further acts of domestic violence. It has the same effect as a court order until the matter is heard in court. The notice may include a court date where the respondent must appear and will become the application to the court. Before they can issue a police protection notice, the police must reasonably believe that: 

  • domestic violence has occurred
  • you haven’t already got a domestic violence order in place
  • an order is necessary or desirable to protect you.

You should talk to police about whether this applies to your situation. 

The police protection notice may include conditions that provide effective and immediate protection for you and your children. It could also include a “cool down” condition to stop the respondent from coming to or staying in your house, trying to approach you or trying to contact you, which remains in force for no more than 24 hours.

3. Apply to a court for a domestic violence order on your behalf

If the police officer applies to the court for a domestic violence order on your behalf, they will complete the necessary paperwork and will appear on your behalf in court. You may still have to attend some court appearances.

4. Apply to a court to vary an existing domestic violence order

This only applies if you already have a domestic violence order in place. The police can apply to the court to have the conditions in your existing domestic violence order changed to better protect you.

5. Take the respondent into custody

The police can only take the respondent into custody if they believe the respondent is likely to injure someone or damage property. The respondent can be kept in custody for up to four hours and, in some circumstances, this can be extended to eight hours. If it is not possible to bring the respondent before a court to have the domestic violence order heard and decided while they are in custody, the police officer must apply for a temporary protection order or complete an application for a domestic violence order. Even if the police officer does not take the respondent into custody you can ask them to apply for a domestic violence order for you.

6. Apply directly to a magistrate for an urgent temporary order

If the police believe you are in immediate danger, and that the normal application process won’t protect you quickly enough, they can apply for an urgent temporary protection order. This might happen if the court is in a remote location, does not sit regularly, or the respondent cannot be easily located. The application is made to a magistrate and can be done by fax, telephone, radio or email.

Applying through your lawyer

If you want a solicitor to represent you, contact your local Legal Aid Queensland office, community legal centre or a private solicitor to organise for them to represent you. If you want a lawyer from Legal Aid Queensland to represent you, you will need to apply for legal aid and meet our criteria. Some private solicitors can also apply for legal aid to represent you.

Applying through an authorised person

If you do not want to apply for the domestic violence order yourself, you can get a friend, relative or community/welfare worker to apply for you. You will need to give that person authorisation to apply for an order on your behalf.

Applying through a guardian

A guardian or administrator, who is appointed under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000, can apply for a domestic violence order on your behalf.

Applying through the Adult Guardian

The Adult Guardian can apply for a domestic violence order on behalf of someone else if the person has impaired capacity. Impaired capacity refers to a person’s ability to make a sound decision in a particular area of their life. Impaired capacity may be due to an intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, mental illness, dementia or some other cause.

Applying through an attorney

A person acting under an enduring power of attorney under the Power of Attorney Act 1998 can also apply for a domestic violence order on another person’s behalf.

If you decide to get someone else to apply for you

If you decide to get someone to apply for you, you must give them written authority, unless you are unable to do so, for example, if you have a physical impairment and cannot write your name (download an example of a written authority(PDF, 66KB), known as an ‘Authority to Act’). The person acting for you is called the authorised person. You need to work closely with this person.

If an authorised person is applying for you, they must fill out all the sections on the domestic violence order application form, especially Part 3 and sign the declaration. The authorisation has to be filed at court with the application.

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