Court Support

The legal process surrounding Domestic Violence can be overwhelming and may leave some people involved feeling re-victimized. Part of our role as the Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service (CRDVS) is to provide support and information to victims at court.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) are put in place by the court to protect the aggrieved (victim) from the violence and intimidating behaviours of the respondent (abuser). They can be applied for by both the police and individuals. In some cases the police may apply for a DVPO on a victim’s behalf even if they do not necessarily want an order against the respondent. However, in the majority of cases the aggrieved persons actively seek protection whether it is through a private or police application. In either situation the process can be stressful and those involved can benefit from the support offered by CRDVS. We provide assistance to vulnerable parties in the following ways:

At the Service

  • Provide information about applying for a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
  • Provide assistance with making private applications for Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
  • Provide assistance with making private applications to vary/revoke Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
  • Provide information about court processes and protocols.
  • Discuss and explore the needs and options of individuals.
  • Explore strategies for safety specific to the individual.
  • Provide information and assistance in regards to breaches of existing orders and assisting to report these to police.
  • Where appropriate providing referrals and advocacy to other services.

At Court

  • Provide information about court processes and protocols.
  • Provide support and information to vulnerable parties before and after a matter is heard at court.
  • Our Court Support Worker is present inside court to be a supportive presence for the aggrieved.

What will a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) mean for you?

  • A domestic violence protection order (DVPO) refers to either a protection order or a temporary protection order. 
  • The purpose of a protection order is to stop the violence by placing restraints on the respondent's behaviour.
  • A Basic Order or Order in the Mandatory Terms states that the respondent must be of good behaviour towards the aggrieved and any named persons on the order.
  • To name other persons on the order an act of domestic violence must have been directed at that person.
  • Additional conditions can be sought when applying for an order such as: not to come to the aggrieved residence or workplace and not to contact the aggrieved. 
  • A DVPO usually lasts for five years and can be registered in any state or Territory of Australia as well as New Zealand.
  • A DVPO does not give the respondent a criminal record. It is a civil matter, however if the respondent breaches the order then it becomes a criminal matter.
  • If there are children from a relationship with the respondent a DVPO will not stop them from having contact with the children. All conditions sought will have a child contact exception which means that a respondent may not have contact with the aggrieved etc except for the purpose of child visitation as per a Family Law Court Order or written agreement. Therefore, it is helpful to have child contact arrangements formalised.
  • If a respondent is breaching their order it is important for the aggrieved to call the Police. The purpose of an order is to stop the violent behaviour and keep the aggrieved and any other named persons safe and this can only be done if these behaviours are reported to police.
  • Even if you have a DVPO in place it is still important to develop a safety plan.

What to expect in Court

  • There is a safe room for female aggrieved at the courthouse where you can wait for your matter to be heard in safety. Feel free to ask any of the workers from the Domestic Violence Service or Police where it is located. 
  • When you enter the courtroom, you should be seated at the table closest to the doors and between the Police Prosecutor and the Court Support worker. Feel free to ask the support worker any questions you may have.
  • The respondent will be at another table on the other side of the room.
  • When you enter the courtroom please ensure that you take off any sunglasses, hats or caps you may be wearing and switch off your mobile phone.
  • Address any questions or issues you may have through the Police Prosecutor. Speak directly to the Magistrate only when they speak directly to you. Address the Magistrate as ‘Your Honour’. You may be asked to stand when speaking.

Court Process Downloads

DVPO Process Flow Chart
The Court Process: For The Aggrieved Party
The Court Process: For The Respondent