New laws commenced in September 2012 which provide greater protection to more Queenslanders from domestic violence.


The main purpose of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 is to provide for the safety and protection of a person when domestic violence is committed within a “domestic relationship”.


Who can be protected?

The Act recognises that there are many different types of relationships that may require an order to be made so as to put in place some protection for the parties. The definition of “domestic relationships” has been expanded so that more people have access to Protection Orders. This includes:

  • spouse relationships – married or defacto couples, divorcees, same sex couples or parents of a child;
  • Intimate personal relationships – engaged couples, people who have dated and whose lives have become enmeshed.
  • Family relationships – relatives (including a person who is reasonably regarded as a relative) and the relatives of a defacto partner.
  • Informal care relationships – this covers situations where a person provides care on an informal basis and without pay.

These definitions are broad and are designed to apply to more people giving protection against further domestic violence.

What is domestic violence?

The new definition of domestic violence is deliberately broad and has been updated to include a modern understanding of violence. As well as violent or threatening behaviour it also includes an ongoing pattern of abusive behaviour, motivated by a desire to dominate, control, oppress and cause fear to the other person. The legislation is designed to give protection to Queenslanders living in domestic relationships.

What is a Domestic Violence Order (DVO)?

Under the new laws there is no longer a requirement that further acts of violence are likely to occur or that a threat is likely to be carried out. The new laws provide that a protection order may be made if the court is satisfied that:

  • A domestic relationship exists between the aggrieved and the respondent; and
  • There has been an act of domestic violence committed by the respondent; and
  • The protection order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved from domestic violence.

Does this result in a criminal record?

The issuing of a Protection Order or DVO does not mean the person has a criminal record. It is a civil process that enables a person affected by domestic or family violence to apply for protection independently of the Police. It is only if there is a breach of the terms of the Protection Order, that becomes a criminal matter which will be dealt with by the Courts.