Steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe
If your partner is abusive or violent, you are not alone. You can get help. Your immediate priority is getting out of a dangerous situation, and beyond that, there are legal steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Ensure your own safety first
If you are in immediate danger, phone the police on 000. Beyond this, Queensland’s state-wide 24-hour domestic violence hotline is 1800 811 811. Provided by DVConnect, it offers safety advice and can help you arrange intervention, counselling and emergency accommodation.
Make a plan to keep yourself and your children safe
If you are considering leaving an abusive partner, or if you are worried they will hurt you or your children again, it is recommended that you make a plan for what to do if you are in an unsafe situation and need to leave quickly. The Queensland Government provides a detailed list of what to consider which you can find here.
Your legal options in a domestic violence situation
Divorce and separation are options for the end of a relationship, regardless of the reasons. You should seek legal counsel for your personal situation.
Where violence is involved, however, you may need to take more immediate legal steps to keep yourself and your children safe, such as applying for a domestic violence order (DVO).
An official, court-ordered document, a DVO aims to restrict your partner’s actions so that they cannot threaten your safety. The order limits their behaviour towards you, and prevents them from owning weapons or owning or applying for a gun licence. If necessary, it can also stop your former partner from approaching you at home or at work, going to your children’s school or day care, approaching your relatives or friends (if you have named them in the order) or staying in the house you used to share.
A DVO does not mean that you and your children have to stop living with your partner, unless you add conditions that stop them having contact. Not every couple necessarily wants to separate, but your safety should take priority as you decide.
A DVO is a civil order, but breaking it is a criminal offence and can lead to jail time. McCarthy Durie Lawyers can give you advice before you begin the process, and help you with your DVO application.
If you or your children are in immediate danger, please call the police. For legal help removing yourself from an abusive relationship, or confidential advice on your options in your individual situation, please get in touch with the McCarthy Durie Lawyers team here or on 07 3370 5100.