This article provides an overview of domestic violence offences in Queensland, how charges are laid, the court process, and the penalties associated with these offences.
Domestic violence is a pervasive and serious issue in Queensland and is addressed under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld). The Act aims to provide protection to victims of domestic violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Types of Domestic Violence Offences
- Physical Abuse: This includes any form of physical violence, such as hitting, slapping, punching, choking, or any other act that causes physical harm to the victim.
- Sexual Abuse: This includes any unwanted sexual activity, such as rape, sexual assault, or forcing the victim to engage in sexual acts against their will.
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse: This includes acts such as manipulation, control, intimidation, stalking, or any other behaviour that causes emotional or psychological harm to the victim.
- Economic Abuse: This includes controlling the victim’s finances, withholding money, or forcing the victim to incur debt.
- Threats: This includes making threats to harm the victim, their children, or their property.
How Charges Are Laid for domestic violence offences in Queensland
Charges for domestic violence offences in Queensland are typically laid by the police. The police may charge an individual with a domestic violence offence following an investigation, which may involve interviewing the victim, the accused, and any witnesses, collecting physical evidence, and reviewing any available surveillance footage. Once there is enough evidence, the police can charge the individual with a domestic violence offence and issue a Notice to Appear in court or arrest the individual and bring them before the court.
- Application for a Protection Order: A victim of domestic violence can apply for a Protection Order, which is a court order that imposes conditions on the respondent (the person accused of domestic violence) to stop the violence and protect the victim. The application can be made by the victim, a police officer, or a person authorised by the court. The court will hold a hearing to determine whether to grant the Protection Order and what conditions to impose.
- Criminal Proceedings: If the police charge an individual with a criminal offence related to domestic violence, such as assault, sexual assault, or stalking, the accused will have to appear in court to face these charges. The accused may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads guilty, the court will proceed to sentencing. If the accused pleads not guilty, the case will be set down for a hearing or trial.
- Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, the court will determine the appropriate penalty.
Penalties for domestic violence offences in Queensland
The penalties for domestic violence offences in Queensland vary depending on the nature and severity of the offence. Penalties can include fines, imprisonment, community service orders, probation, and good behaviour bonds. For example:
- Common Assault carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment.
- Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.
- Sexual Assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
- Stalking carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, but this can increase to 7 years if the stalking involved a threat of violence.
Additionally, if the court grants a Protection Order, the respondent will be required to comply with the conditions of the order. Breaching a Protection Order is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment or a fine of up to $13,055.
Domestic violence is a serious issue in Queensland and is treated as such by the legal system. The court process and penalties associated with domestic violence offences aim to provide protection to victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. If you are a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of a domestic violence offence, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand your rights and options. A legal professional can help navigate the legal process and work towards the best possible outcome for your situation.