In this section
START OF Relationships and children
START OF Domestic and family violence
END OF Domestic and family violence
END OF Relationships and children
Changes to this area of law
There have recently been changes to this area of law. We are working to review the information on this page and how these changes may affect you. Contact us to get help.
Everyone has the right to live without fear of violence or abuse.
If there is violence or you or your children have been threatened, get help from the police. Call 000 if you think you’re in danger.
You can also get help and support from family and domestic violence services:
If you’re experiencing domestic violence, you can:
Get legal advice.
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 was created to give people legal protection from violent relationships.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence, you can:
Family and domestic violence services can help you work out a plan to leave the relationship safely.
Related publications and resources
What are my rights if I want to separate from my partner?
What are my rights if I want to separate from my partner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
When separating DVD
Queensland courts domestic violence videos (a series of videos explaining the court process for domestic and family violence)
Open doors. Act Now. Break the cycle. (Queensland Police video)
You should take important documents and items with you when you leave. See separation for a list of items you may need. Don’t put yourself in danger by arguing over belongings if you’re leaving a relationship.
No one has the right to hurt or threaten another person. These laws protect everyone who lives in Australia. If you’re on a visa and there’s family violence, get legal help immediately. In Brisbane, you can contact the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS).
When dealing with a domestic violence order application:
Domestic violence behaviour includes when another person you’re in a relationship with:
Examples of this type of behaviour include:
You don’t have to have been physically injured to have experienced domestic violence.
A domestic violence or protection order is a court order limiting the behaviour of the person who is being violent (the respondent). It must include conditions that the respondent is well behaved toward you and your child/ren or anyone else named on the order. The court can also include other conditions stopping a person from approaching, contacting or locating you, or anyone else named in the order, which could include coming to your home or workplace. Once an order has been made, it’s a criminal offence for the respondent to breach (disobey) the order. They are also prohibited from having a weapon or a weapons licence. Get legal advice.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence you can apply for a domestic violence order. The person who wants protection is called the ‘aggrieved’.
The law protects people who are, or have been in the following types of relationships:
The police may decide to apply for a domestic violence order for you even if you don’t agree. See—how can the police help?
Domestic Violence Protection order—information for applicants
How do I get a domestic violence protection order?
How to apply for a domestic violence order
Children under 18 can only be the applicant or a respondent to a domestic violence order if they’re in, or have been in:
Children can’t be an applicant or respondent to a domestic violence order if it relates to a family relationship. A child can’t apply for a domestic violence order against their parent or guardian and a parent or guardian can’t apply for a domestic violence order against their child.
If someone applies for a domestic violence order against a child, copies of the documents served on the child must be given to one of their parents. The child shouldn’t be served at school, unless there is no other way to serve them.
You can request for your children to be included on a domestic violence order to protect them from violence. This includes your children and any other children living with you (ie any children spending time at your home on a regular or ongoing basis). This includes step-children or other children who spend time at your home on weekends or school holidays. It can also include an unborn child (the order would have a condition that takes effect when the child is born).
Children can be included on a domestic violence order if the court thinks it’s necessary or desirable to protect the child from domestic violence. The law says a child has been exposed to domestic violence if they hear, see or ‘otherwise experience’ domestic violence. This could include:
If the court knows you have children living with you or regularly visiting your home, then it must consider including those children on the domestic violence order.
You can apply for a domestic violence order at a Magistrates Court using a Form DV01 – Application for a protection order (PDF, 216.3KB), or you can get a police officer, lawyer or someone you trust to apply for you.
To get a domestic violence order, you must prove:
How to apply for a domestic violence order
If you think you’re unsafe, and the normal application process won’t protect you quickly enough, you can apply for an urgent temporary protection order.
You’ll go to court soon after you apply—before the respondent is told about your application. You’ll be given another date when you and the respondent will have to go to court to tell the magistrate about your situation. If you have a lawyer, they may be able to go to this court hearing for you.
After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll be given a date to go to court. The date and a copy of your application will be given to the respondent.
The respondent can choose to:
If the respondent disagrees with the application for a domestic violence order another court date will be made for a hearing.
The police must investigate if they suspect there is domestic violence in a relationship. If they reasonably believe domestic violence has been committed they can:
How to apply for a domestic violence protection order
The police will investigate, and if they can prove the order was broken, the respondent will be charged with breaching the domestic violence order. They could also be charged with other criminal offences depending on the situation.
It will help the police if you have proof the order was broken, like recordings of abusive telephone messages, diary entries you made about the violence and the names of family, friends and neighbours who witnessed the behaviour.
The aggrieved, the respondent or any other person named in the order can apply to change (vary ) the domestic violence order. If the police have taken out the order they can oppose this. The aggrieved or the respondent can apply to change:
Persons who are named in the order (eg your friends and family) can only apply to change the parts of the order that relate to them.
When deciding whether to change (vary) an order, the court must consider:
The court will only change the order if it’s satisfied the aggrieved, or any other person named on the order would not be adversely affected by the change.
To apply to change the order’s terms or conditions, you will need to complete a Form DV04 Application to vary a domestic violence order (PDF, 298.9KB).
If there’s a domestic violence order between you and your partner, you should get legal advice about living together. The respondent may be breaching the order just by being near you. You can have a domestic violence order and still live with each other.
If someone has taken out a domestic violence protection order or the police have issued a police protection notice against you :
Someone has applied for a domestic violence protection order against me...What are my legal options?
The magistrate must consider any family law orders you have before deciding to make or vary a domestic violence order. If you have a family law order about your children, or if there are proceedings in the family law courts about your children, you must:
A magistrate can consider changing your family law order if:
For example, if your family law order allows the respondent to come to your home to collect your children and these visits lead to verbal abuse, threats or any other act of domestic violence, the magistrate can change the family law order to make the collection point away from where you live. The magistrate can also discharge or suspend your existing parenting order if they’re satisfied it would be unsafe for you or the children to continue spending time with the respondent.
If you have a domestic violence order and you later apply to a family law court for a parenting order or an order about your children, you must tell the court about the domestic violence order.
If you have a domestic violence order and a family law order that are inconsistent, you should get legal advice.
If a court makes or varies (changes) a domestic violence order, it can also make a voluntary intervention order requiring the respondent to attend an intervention program, perpetrators’ program or counselling to address their behaviour.
This order can only be made if the respondent is present at court, they agree to the voluntary intervention order being made or varied, and they agree to comply. You should get legal advice.
From 25 November 2017 domestic violence orders (DVOs) issued in one state or territory will apply and be enforceable in all states and territories in Australia.
A DVO issued in New Zealand can be registered in any state or territory of Australia and will automatically be a recognised interstate order.
See the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme and the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme information guide for details.
You may need legal advice if:
We may provide legal advice and help on family and domestic violence.
The following organisations may be able to give legal advice.
Women's Legal Service gives free legal advice to women on areas of law including domestic violence and family law.
Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Services (QIFVLS) provides legal and counselling services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suffering from the direct and indirect effects of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if they can help with your matter.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.
These organisations may be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.
Queensland Police Service responds to emergency situations (eg if there is violence or you or your children have been threatened). If you think you’re in immediate danger call 000.
Domestic and Family Violence Court Assistance Service gives information about domestic violence and helps with applications in some courts in Queensland. Court assistance workers can also help with legal aid applications and referrals to other services.
DV Connect gives counselling, information, referral and help including refuge and shelter placement and crisis intervention to people affected by domestic violence. They also manage the Pets in crisis project arranging foster care for pets while people affected by domestic violence are in temporary accommodation.
Mensline (DV Connect) is a free, confidential telephone counselling, referral and support service for men.
Immigrant Women's Support Service offers free confidential, practical and emotional support to immigrant and refugee women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their children who have experienced domestic or sexual violence.
Family Relationship Advice Line is a free national telephone service giving help to families affected by relationship or separation issues, including parents, grandparents, children, young people, step-parents and friends.
Men and Family Relationship Counselling Service provides services including domestic violence prevention counselling.
Women's Safety After Separation (WSAS) is an online resource for women facing separation, particularly where there is violence and abuse. Information includes online safety, emergency contacts, the legal system, recovery and survival.