Family Violence and Protection Orders

The Family Law Act and the ACT Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act provide a number of different ways for the Courts to address and respond to family violence and to keep people safe. Family (domestic) violence is defined in the Family Law Act as, “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family, or causes the family member to be fearful.”

Examples of this behaviour may include:

  • Any kind of assault, both physical and/or sexual.
  • Stalking or repeated derogatory taunts.
  • Intentionally damaging or destroying property.
  • Intentionally causing death or injury to an animal.
  • Unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had.
  • Unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet the reasonable living expenses of the family member, or his or her child, at a time when the family member is entirely or predominantly dependent on the person for financial support.
  • Preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture.
  • Unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member's family, of his or her liberty.

Protecting a child from family violence is a primary consideration for the Court when assessing what is in the best interests of a child. The Family Law Courts are committed to ensuring that issues about family violence are addressed promptly and with priority in matters concerning children. 

Both the ACT Magistrates Court and the Family Law Courts will issue orders to protect people experiencing family violence. Our family lawyers are able to expertly navigate the two court systems and provide clear guidance to our clients through each process. We can assist you in obtaining urgent protection orders in the ACT Magistrates Court and to secure appropriate restraining orders in the Family Law Courts.