What you need to know about domestic violence laws

What you need to know about domestic violence laws

At Coutts Solicitors and Conveyancers, we wanted to take a moment to make sure you’re in the know when it comes to domestic violence legislation and what it could mean for you. 

In 2016, Parliament introduced the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Amendment (Review) Bill 2016 [NSW] after statutory review made recommendations for the act. The Bill aims to widen the application of the current laws through providing further protections to victims of domestic violence. One step to doing so was through the amendment to the meaning of domestic relationships which widens the criteria for those who can apply for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).

What you need to know:

Domestic relationship redefined

  • Two people can now be classified as having a domestic relationship if they have both been in a domestic relationship with the same third person. This means that person’s ex-partner and their new partner can be in a domestic relationship, even if they haven’t met.

Domestic violence offence

  • This is a personal violence offence and the meaning has been expanded to include offences that intend to coerce or control a person and cause them to be intimidated and/or fearful.

New parties the Bill covers

  • The Bill will include recognition of the particular impact domestic violence has on Aboriginal persons, Torres Strait Islanders, persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, person from gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities, older persons and persons with disability.

Courts power to issue an ADVO

  • The court will have the power to issue an ADVO if the court is satisfied that a person has reasonable grounds to fear that a domestic violence offence will be committed against them. This removes the previous requirement that in addition to having reasonable grounds to fear, the court also had to be satisfied that the person actually does fear an offence.

ADVO and Family Law

  • Any property or parenting family law orders or any pending family law proceedings are to be disclosed and considered when an applying for an ADVO. Because of this it is important to speak to a family law solicitor to see how family law orders can be affected.

Protecting Children

  • The Bill prevents a defendant from questioning a child who is a witness to the ADVO proceedings. However, the child can be questioned by someone such as the defendant’s solicitor or another person the court finds suitable.

If you have any enquiries about ADVOs, the Coutts Solicitors & Conveyancers criminal and family law department will be able to assist.