Perils of Using Law: A Critique of Protection Orders to Respond to Intimate Partner Violence
H Douglas, 'Criminal Responsibility and Family Violence: The Relationship Between (Feminist) Academic Critique and Judicial Decison-making' in Thomas Crofts and Arlie Loughnan (ed), Criminalisation and Criminal Responsibility in Australia (Oxford University Press, South Melbourne 2015) 176-190
Posted: 14 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 13, 2015
Since the 1980s, the predominant legal response to intimate partner violence (IPV) in most Australian states and territories has been a court order under civil "domestic" or "family" violence laws. These laws vary among states and territories, including the terminology used, the definitions of violence (types of behaviours), and the types of relationships covered. Laws in all jurisdictions include intimate partner relationships, and therefore address IPV. Where possible we use the term IPV; however at times we use the term "domestic violence" or "family violence," such as when referring to specific legislative reforms or reviews.
Regardless of the differences in terminology and definitions, the civil laws in the various states and territories operate in essentially the same way. An application for an order, which we refer to as a "domestic violence order" (DVO), is considered by the court and determined on the civil law standard of proof (the balance of probabilities). A DVO includes a standard condition requiring the perpetrator to refrain from committing domestic violence (DV). It may include other conditions requested by an applicant, such as not being able to enter specified premises, or to have no contact at all with the person for whose protection the order is made. A breach of a civil order is a criminal offense, regardless of the nature of the breach, and the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) is required for a conviction. Penalties for a breach include fines and/or imprisonment.
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation