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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 a person to be used in a court. A person who makes an affidavit must swear an 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 protection order – An order made by the court that puts conditions on a person and is 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, emails or social media posts or a doctor’s report.

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

Final order – A domestic violence order made by the magistrate that lasts for up to five 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 paying a fee.

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

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

Magistrates Court – The main court 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 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 means the respondent must move out of your 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 domestic violence 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. They are the person who is accused of committing acts of domestic violence.

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

Spousal relationship – Your spouse is:

  • someone you are or were married to
  • someone you are or were in a defacto relationship with
  • someone you are or were in a registered relationship with
  • a parent or former parent of your child.

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

Where to go for help

Legal services

Legal Aid Queensland 1300 65 11 88

Community Legal Centres Queensland (07) 3392 0092

Indigenous Hotline (Legal Aid Queensland) 1300 65 01 43

Violence Prevention and Women’s Advocacy (Legal Aid Queensland) (07) 3917 0597

Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service 1800 887 700

Women’s Legal Service 1800 957 957

Women’s Legal Service — Rural, Regional and Remote Line 1800 457 117

Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (07) 3846 9333

LGBTI Legal Service (07) 3124 7160

Queensland Law Society 1300 367 757

Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia 1800 818 338

Government agencies

Women’s Infolink 1800 177 577

Centrelink 13 28 50

Child Safety Enquiries and Notification Unit 1800 811 810

Domestic violence services

1800 RESPECT telephone counselling 1800 737 732

DV Connect 1800 811 811

DV Connect — Mensline 1800 600 636

Mensline Australia 1300 789 978

Immigrant Women’s Support Service (07) 3846 3490

Contacts for counselling and support services:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Ozcare 1800 692 273

Relationships Australia and Rainbow Counselling 1300 364 277

Diverse Voices (LGBTI peer support) 1800 184 527

Interpreting services

Deaf Services Queensland (07) 3892 8500

National Relay Service 1300 65 11 88

Translating and Interpreting Service 13 14 50

Last updated 7 April 2021

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