Your Court, Your Safety: A guide to getting a Family Violence Order in the ACT explains the process of going to court to apply for a Family Violence Order in the ACT.
The Centre was very proud that the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette Berry MLA joined Her Honour Magistrate Campbell and a survivor advocate to launch this updated guide as part of the 16 Days of Activism in November 2018
Thank you to our colleagues at the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Legal Aid Domestic Violence and Personal Protection Unit for their assistance and support and to the ACT Office for Women for their support in this publication..
The Minister’s Media Release, including comments from the Centre’s Principal Solicitor, is in full here below.
Thanks to all who joined us for the launch.
|26 November 2018
Your Court, Your Safety
Today I launched the Your Court, Your Safety: a Guide to Getting a Family Violence Order in the ACT. Your Court, Your Safety is a practical tool to assist people who are considering getting a Family Violence Order
Your Court, Your Safety provides an overview of the nature and dynamics of domestic and family violence. This guide is designed to help women recognise domestic and family violence and to know what supports are available to them.
A Family Violence Order is one of the main options women in the ACT have to respond to violence and protect their safety. Your Court, Your Safety provides a clear overview of the process of applying for a Family Violence Order and practical information about what to expect when attending court.
One of the things I hear often is the difficulty women and families have in navigating the legal system, particularly in the case of domestic and family violence where the parties involved are often stressed and not sure of what to expect.
First launched in 2012, Your Court, Your Safety has been updated to reflect recent changes to the law in the ACT. The definition of family and domestic violence has been amended to explicitly include all forms of violence—physical, sexual emotional, financial and financial violence. These amendments also improved protections for people applying for an order. A self-represented respondent can no longer cross-examine the applicant themselves in a final hearing.
The guide also provides referral information about a broad range of services in Canberra who can help people beyond legal assistance.
Women’s Legal Centre Principal Solicitor, Claudia Maclean explained, “This practical information about the process and what to expect when attending court can be key to women actually being able to make the application and protect their safety. For example, once you know what time, how long you will be at court, how many times you will have to appear, what information you will need you can do things like plan transport, child care, taking time off work.
“It’s also crucial that women know there is free legal assistance and specialised support over at the Court that can help you make the application. Legal Aid ACT run a Domestic Violence Unit that can help people go through the application process for a Family Violence Order and respond to an order. The Domestic Violence Crisis Service’s Court Advocacy Program can provide people applying for an order with advice on the process, support in meetings with solicitors and in the court as well advocacy in court and with other agencies. The more support women have going through the process, the better that experience and the outcome will be.
“Changes to the Family Violence Act 2016 were made to better reflect our client’s experiences of violence and shows them the system recognises and aims to respond. Domestic and family violence is characterised by the experience of coercion and control in a relationship, not just one form of violence. It’s important that we skill up our whole community to recognise unhealthy and dangerous signs in relationships.
“The changes to the Act protects applicants from direct cross-examination by the person who is alleged to have perpetrated the violence and are also a crucial local response to the pervasive problem of systems abuse, where violent partners use legal systems to continue the abusive, threatening and controlling behaviour.”