Domestic violence protection orders

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    A domestic violence 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 magistrate 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 or your children are at risk of immediate harm, call the police. In an emergency, call 000 . Get legal advice.

    Who can apply for a domestic violence protection order?

    If you’re experiencing domestic violence you can apply for a domestic violence protection 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:

    • an intimate personal relationship (married, defacto, registered relationship, engaged, couple)
    • a family relationship (a parent or former parent of a child, or your relatives)
    • an informal care relationship (where one person is dependent on the other person for help in an activity of daily living, like dressing and cooking for them).

    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?

    Changing a domestic violence protection order

    The aggrieved, the respondent or any other person named in the order can apply to vary (change) the domestic violence protection order. If the police have taken out the order they can oppose this. The aggrieved or the respondent can apply to change:

    • the order’s conditions
    • the people named in the order
    • the order’s length (to have it end sooner or make it longer).

    People 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 vary (change) an order, the magistrate must consider:

    • the wishes of the aggrieved or any other person named on the order
    • whether the aggrieved or any other person named in the order may have been pressured
    • the safety, protection or wellbeing of the aggrieved or any other person named in the order.

    The magistrate 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 protection 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 protection order and still live with each other.

    Voluntary intervention orders

    If a magistrate makes or varies (changes) a domestic violence protection order, it can also make a voluntary intervention order requiring the respondent to attend an intervention program, a perpetrators intervention 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.

    Interstate or New Zealand domestic violence protection orders

    New laws have been introduced

    Domestic violence protection orders issued in one state or territory now apply and are enforceable in all states and territories in Australia.

    A domestic violence protection order 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.

    Do I need legal advice?

    You may need legal advice if:

    • you or your children are at risk of domestic or family violence or abuse
    • you need help to work out a plan to leave a relationship safely
    • you want to apply for a domestic violence protection order
    • someone has applied for a domestic violence protection order against you
    • you have been issued with a police protection notice
    • police have made an application for a domestic violence protection order against you or your partner
    • you want to change a domestic violence protection order
    • you had to leave your home because of violence but your name is still on the lease
    • you had an order interstate or overseas and want to register it in Queensland
    • you have been asked to attend family dispute resolution but have concerns for your safety.

    Get legal advice

    We may give legal advice and help about domestic and family 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 Service 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.

    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.

    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.

    Who else can help?

    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.

    Men and Family Relationship Counselling Service provides services including domestic violence prevention counselling.

    The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has has a list of brokerage and emergency crisis payment arrangements available to people experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV), including additional avenues available to people with disability and their children who are impacted by DFV.

    Disclaimer: This content is for general purposes only and not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, please contact us or speak to a lawyer. View our full disclaimer.

    Last updated 18 April 2023