Domestic violence is a serious problem in the community. Many domestic violence victims fail to report the abuse out of being viewed negatively, whether that be personally or professionally.
Being falsely accused of domestic violence can also be damaging to a person’s reputation and reduces the resources available to genuine cases.
Behaviours of Domestic Violence
Many behaviours can constitute domestic violence under the Act. The concept is not limited to physical violence as many people might believe. Domestic violence includes emotional or psychological abuse. Emotional or psychological abuse means that the person towards another person that torments, intimidates, harasses or is offensive to the other person.
Court Order Process
Even if the above three criteria are met, the Court then must determine whether it is necessary or desirable to make a protection order. This involves the Court engaging in a three-stage enquiry to determine the following:
(a) Firstly, an assessment of the risk of future domestic violence between the parties in the absence of any order;
(b) Secondly, the Court must assess the need to protect the aggrieved from that domestic violence in the absence of any order
(c) Thirdly, the Court must consider whether imposing a protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved from domestic violence.
A person can apply for a protection order under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (“the Act”). The Court may make a protection order against a person for the benefit of another if the Court is satisfied that:
(a) a relevant relationship exists between the aggrieved and the respondent;
(b) respondent has committed domestic violence against the aggrieved; and
(c) the protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved from domestic violence.
Ordinarily people involved in domestic violence proceedings bear their own legal costs.
However, in special circumstances the Court may award costs against another party. This may occur where the Court hears and dismisses the case on the grounds that the application is either malicious, deliberately false, frivolous, or vexatious. Generally, a person cannot obtain a costs order if they are not legally represented as no legal costs will have been incurred.
Stephens & Tozer Solicitors can help you if you are experiencing domestic violence or have been accused of an act of domestic violence. If you would like assistance with a domestic violence application, representation from a litigation lawyer or a divorce lawyer or further information, please do not hesitate to contact Stephens & Tozer Solicitors.
The above commentary constitutes general information only and should not be interpreted as legal advice which needs to be tailored to your circumstances.
9 March 2021