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Domestic/Family Violence & Separation

Domestic and family violence is a serious social issue that affects everyone in a family – children, parents and other members of the extended family and the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia take family violence very seriously.

If you are feeling unsafe, whether you and your partner have separated or not, help is available – from police, counsellors and lawyers.

If you, your child or someone else is in IMMEDIATE DANGER or require immediate assistance please CALL 000 straight away.

What is domestic and family violence?

Examples of behaviours that may constitute domestic and family violence include but are not limited to:

  • Assault, for example pushing or hitting
  • Sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour including forcing a person to have sex or engage in sexual activity
  • Stalking
  • Emotional or psychological abuse including repeated derogatory taunts and controlling their behaviour
  • Intentionally damaging or destroying property
  • Intentionally causing death or injury to an animal, or
  • Unlawfully depriving the family member, or any member of the family member’s family, of his or her liberty
  • Economic abuse – this includes controlling a family member’s bank accounts and money without their consent.
  • Any other behaviour that causes the family member to feel fear for their safety, the safety of another person or an animal
  • Threatening to do any of the above

What is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order?

You can protect yourself and your family members against domestic and family violence be applying for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO). An ADVO is an order made by the Local Court to protect you from future abuse. ADVOs can be adapted to your specific circumstances in order to provide you with the best possible protection from violence and breaching an ADVO can lead to criminal charges.

How do I apply for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order?

The police can apply for ADVO on your behalf and many police stations have Domestic Violence Liaison Officers who can assist you with the application. The police will assess your situation, obtain a statement if required and if they believe and suspect that an ADVO is necessary to ensure your safety and protection, they have an obligation to make the application on your behalf. If you need immediate protection the police can apply for a provisional or interim ADVO which will last until final orders are made or the ADVO is revoked.

Alternatively a lawyer can apply for an ADVO on your behalf or you can make the application yourself at your local court.

Making a Safety Plan

If you are not in an urgent situation and have not yet made the difficult decision to leave your partner, it is important that you have a safety plan in place for you and your children. It is helpful to seek help from a professional, such as a counsellor to develop your safety plan however some things to consider include:

  • Writing down emergency contact numbers, such as support persons, family members or friends
  • Considering emergency accommodation, whether at a refuge, friend or family member’s home
  • Locating important documents and information, such as passports, birth certificates, bank account details, Centrelink details and any other important documents and information that you or your children need
  • Preparing an escape plan and a small ‘escape bag’ that won’t be noticeable to your partner – pack a few essential belongings, your most important documents, chargers for any technology you need, medication, money and anything else you cannot live without
  • Keep your friend and family informed about your circumstance

Domestic and Family Violence Services

  • NSW Domestic Violence Line – 1800 656 463 or 1800 671 442 TTY (hearing impaired)
  • 1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732
  • MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978 (for male victims of domestic violence)
  • NSW Rape Crisis Centre – 1800 424 017

We understand that it takes courage to seek help from family and domestic violence and it can be very difficult.

Contact Chatswood Family Lawyers today for help

We understand that it can be very difficult to seek help from domestic and family violence. If you require assistance contact our office today by calling (02) 9412 4500, online or by email at to learn how we can help you through this difficult time.