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Domestic Violence & The Law

Domestic Violence and The Law

It is well documented that domestic and family violence is a significantly under-reported crime. Many people who have experienced or are experiencing domestic and family violence do not necessarily want to end their relationships with the person using violence, but rather, they just want the violence to stop. Others require assistance from the police and other support services in order to leave relationships in which they are experiencing violence. 

The below information has been sourced directly from the Western Australian Police Force, we recommend you seek independent legal advice with regards to understanding your legal rights.

Family domestic violence can be experienced by people of all classes, religions, ethnicities, ages, abilities and sexual preferences.

Illegal Domestic Violence Activity

Domestic violence is a crime that can take many forms. Examples of criminal offences that occur in domestic and family violence situations include:

  • physical assault
  • sexual assault
  • making threats about a person’s physical safety
  • stalking
  • damage or stealing of property
  • breaching Restraining Orders.

How to report family violence

If life is at threat, call 000 immediately. If you need to report a breach of a Family Violence Restraining Order, or require non-urgent police attendance, please call 131 444.

The following is a list of questions the police may ask you:

  • The address where the incident is taking place/has taken place.
  • Your name and telephone number.
  • The name, age and date of birth of the person using violence.
  • Whether there are/were any weapons involved, and if so, whether you are able to describe them.
  • Whether you are/were the person experiencing the violence, and if no, the name and contact information of that person.

If the incident is occurring while you are talking to the operator, try to stay on the telephone.

How can the police help?

If there is sufficient evidence, the police will investigate any complaint or report about family and domestic violence, with a view to prosecuting any person who has used violence. This may require you to be a witness in court. If the person is found to be guilty of a crime, that person will be convicted and the court will impose a punishment.

Police are also able to issue a Police Order, help you to get a Restraining Order and/ or find a refuge or alternative accommodation. They can also refer you to support agencies such as Crisis Care, counselling services and legal services.

What is a Police Order?

Where there is not enough evidence to arrest and charge a person for family violence, but police still hold concerns for the safety and welfare of any person, police may issue a Police Order.

A Police Order provides temporary but instant protection for a person who is being threatened, harassed or intimidated, and gives a person an opportunity to attend court to apply for/obtain a Restraining Order.  Breaching a Police Order is a criminal offence.

Family Violence Restraining Order

If you or your property is being threatened, harassed, or intimidated, and you are concerned that it will continue, you can consider applying for a Restraining Order.  You can make this application online.

 

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