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Legal words and phrases explained

Adjournment – When a magistrate postpones the court matter to a later date.

Affidavit – A signed written statement made by person to be used in a court. A person who makes an affidavit must swear on oath that the contents of the affidavit are true or make an affirmation that they are true. It is often used in court in place of verbal evidence.

Affirm – Promising what you say is true – usually because your religion does not recognise taking the oath or you do not have a religion.

Aggrieved – The person who needs a domestic violence order.

Authorised person – A person authorised to make an application for a domestic violence order on behalf of an aggrieved.

Breach – When the respondent breaks the conditions on the domestic violence order.

Childrens Court – A court that hears matters dealing with child protection issues and juvenile crime.

Contest – When the respondent opposes or disagrees with your application.

Cross-examination – When someone giving evidence in court is questioned about their evidence.

Consent orders – When the applicant and respondent agree to an order being made without the magistrate having to make any findings about what actually happened.

Couple relationships – When you have been in a relationship characterised by trust, commitment, dependence and intimacy (not just dating).

Domestic violence – Physical, economic, emotional, psychological, sexual abuse, coercion, domination and control inflicted on you by the respondent.

Domestic violence order – An order made by the court that imposes conditions on a person, designed to prevent domestic violence eg that a person not contact their ex-partner. The term domestic violence order includes short term (temporary) protection orders and long term (final) protection orders.

Evidence – The facts relied on in court to prove a case. This could include your oral or written statements, copies of text messages, email or Facebook posts or a doctor’s report.

Family – Relatives of the respondent and aggrieved by blood or marriage (including de facto relationships) such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, step-parents, half-brothers, mother-in-law, parents or children (if they are over 18 years).

Final order – A protection order made by the magistrate and remains in force for up to two years, or longer if there are special reasons.

Informal care relationship – This is where one person is dependent on another for help in their daily living activities because of an illness, disability or impairment. This could include dressing, preparing meals or shopping. This help cannot involve the payment of a fee.

Intervention order – A court order requiring the respondent  to attend an intervention program, perpetrators program or counselling to address their behaviour. 

Intimate personal relationship – This is where you are or have been engaged, betrothed, married, in a de facto or registered relationship (a spousal relationship) or in a couple relationship or have a child with the respondent.

Magistrates courts – The main courts dealing with domestic and family violence matters.

Mention – This is a short court appearance. The magistrate will want to know if your application has been served on the respondent and, if the respondent is present in the court, whether they agree or disagree with a domestic violence order being made. There may be one or more other mentions. It is not a hearing.

Named person – A person who is a relative or associate (friend, workmate, refuge worker) of the aggrieved who needs to be covered by the domestic violence order.

Oath – A promise that statements made by a person are true or that the contents of an affidavit are correct made by swearing on a religious book. A person who has no religious beliefs or who objects to making an oath can make an affirmation.

Ouster order – A special condition made in a domestic violence order that removes the respondent from a home.

Police protection notice – A notice issued by police to give you immediate temporary protection from domestic violence. The police will normally issue a notice if they are called to a domesticviolence incident (for example, if they come to your home). It has the same effect as an order and lasts until the police go to court for you.

Protection order (also see domestic violence order) – A long term court order to stop domestic and family violence.

Protected witnesses – An aggrieved or named child who can ask the court for special arrangements to give evidence such as by video or behind a screen.

Respondent – A person against whom an application for a domestic violence order is made.

Service – When an application or order is personally delivered to the respondent by the police.

Spousal relationship – Your spouse is either:

  • someone you are or were married to
  • someone you are or were in a de facto relationship with (including a same sex relationship)
  • someone you are or were in a registered relationship with (including a same sex relationship)
  • a parent or former parent of your child.

Temporary protection order (also see domestic violence order) – A short term order that is in force until a final decision is made by the magistrate.

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