For the authorities, combating domestic violence in Queensland is an ongoing challenge. Thousands of applications for domestic violence orders (DVOs) are initiated annually, and there are no signs the trend is changing. In fact, statistics provided by the Queensland Courts indicate:
- the number of new applications for DVOs lodged statewide in 2018-2019 stood at more than 25,800 (as of 30 April, 2019);
- the total number of new applications lodged statewide for all of 2017-2018 was 30,381;
- the total number of new applications lodged statewide for 2016-2017 was 32,072.
A closer look at the 2018-2019 data reveals that Queensland Courts have issued more than 41,200 DVOs as of April 30, 2019. Of those, more than 20,800 were protection orders. More than 14,500 were temporary protection orders. Only 5,861 were ‘vary protection’ orders.
Of significance here is that Queensland Courts only issue the latter order to people seeking changes to existing DVOs.
Who can request changes to a DVO?
Technically, anyone whose name appears on a DVO can request changes. It doesn’t matter if you are the aggrieved, respondent, applicant or a named person (such as a relative). Nor does it matter if the DVO is a temporary protection order or a protection order. As long as your name is on the order, you can ask a court to change it.
Having said that, if you are the aggrieved person (victim) you can also authorise someone else to request the changes on your behalf. Additionally, if you are a ‘named person’, you can only request changes to the portion(s) of the DVO that pertain directly to you.
When changes to a DVO can be requested
If you meet the criteria we just discussed and your circumstances have changed, you can apply for a variation of the order. This is so even if the police made the original application to the court.
Based on changes in your situation, you can request the following changes to an existing DVO:
- the addition or removal of conditions;
- the addition or removal of named people (e.g. children, other family members, and associates);
- an extension or reduction of the time the order is in effect.
If you are requesting the removal of stipulations which potentially lessen protection for the victim, be prepared to explain:
- specific changes in circumstances;
- how the victim and any named individuals will remain free from harm.
Remember, the safety, protection and well-being of people who fear or have been victims of domestic violence, including children, is paramount to police and the courts.
The magistrate will take your testimony and the police officer’s testimony into account before making a decision.
We are here to help
At Bosscher Lawyers, we are dedicated to securing the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you need assistance with obtaining or changing a domestic violence order, we are here to help. Contact us to learn more today.