This video will give an overview of family violence and the options available to you if you or someone you know is the victim of family violence.
Transcript of Video
Oliver (Lawyer): It’s a sad fact of life, that family violence is still prevalent in today’s society. For too long, this type of behaviour was not reported, ignored or put in the too hard basket. Thankfully, this has all changed.
These days, Family Violence is taken very seriously by the police and the legal system. Today, the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania will give you an overview of Family Violence and what options are available to you, if you or someone you know, is the victim of Family Violence.
Young Adult Female: What does family violence actually mean?
Oliver: Family violence is a broad term used to describe a whole range of behaviours many of which are also offences. While there are many variations, the basics are this: Assault, including sexual assault; threats, intimidation or verbal abuse; abduction, stalking or attempting to do any of these things against a spouse or partner is classified as Family Violence. Other examples are economic abuse, emotional abuse and contravening a family violence order. Obviously this may include harm or distress to children as well.
Young Adult Female: If I ring 000 and report a case of family violence, what will happen?
Oliver: The police who attend the scene will make a decision on the safety and well being of the victims of the family violence. The police will decide whether family violence has occurred and if so by whom to whom. If the police suspect that a person has committed an act of violence, they can arrest the perpetrator on the spot, without a warrant. A person can be held in custody until the police make an assessment of all the facts relating to the case. Quite often, a police family violence order will be issued.
Young Adult Female: What is a Family Violence Order?
Oliver: A family violence order, or an FVO, is made by a magistrate when an application is made to a court by a victim of family violence. The application can also be made by police or sometimes others. When an FVO is made against a person, there may be conditions imposed on them, such as leaving the family home or prohibiting a person entering a family home or work place. Other conditions that may be made would address the particular violence. For example, not to approach the victim.
Young Adult Female: Can the police act on my behalf?
Oliver: As well as an FVO, there is also a Police Family Violence Order. Police can issue a PFVO against a person if they are satisfied that person has committed or is likely to commit an act of family violence. This can be done by the police, even if the victim does not want to apply for an FVO themselves. And like the FVO, the PFVO will usually have conditions attached to it, which must be followed.
Mature Adult Female: What happens once an order's in place?
Oliver: Anyone found breaching a Family Violence Order faces penalties, including in some cases a prison sentence. An order is placed upon a person, to prevent any further family violence from occurring. Police and the courts take these orders very seriously.
Mature Adult Woman: How long does a Family Violence Order last?
Oliver: An FVO is usually in place for 12 months unless the victim can justify to the court that a longer period is necessary. A PFVO is in effect for 12 months or until it's replaced by an FVO.
Mature Adult Woman: Can a violence order be removed?
Oliver: Obviously there are cases where victims and perpetrators of family violence will reconcile and want to get back together, or amend the conditions of an order. In these instances, the courts can revoke or change an FVO or PFVO, as long as all parties, including the police, agree that there's no longer danger to the victims involved, including children.
Mature Adult Woman: Can a Family Violence Order issued in another state still apply in Tasmania?
Oliver: Yes, absolutely, but it’s not automatic. An FVO from another Australian State or Territory, or an order issued in New Zealand can be enforced in Tasmania. You must register the Order with the courts in this state for it to be effective.
Young Adult Female: Does a Family Violence Order deal with when the other party can see the children?
Oliver: No, parenting arrangements are not covered by a Family Violence Order. You will need to consult a family lawyer.
Oliver: As we said at the start of this film, Family Violence is a real issue, with real victims and long lasting consequences. It's also a highly emotional topic, often with children involved, either directly or indirectly, as a result of violence.
If you’re watching this and suffering in silence at the hands of an abusive partner, you DO have options. Get in touch with the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania and we’ll give you free advice on what to do. As we all know, no one should have to put up with Family Violence.