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Protection Orders in Queensland (QLD)

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.


The protection order is the peculiar name for the Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) issued in Australia. The Court will issue a Protection order to prevent future occurrences of Assaults, threats or attacks on the applicant.

In Queensland, the protection order may also be a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) if the orders are issued within closely related people or groups.

The legislation of the Protection Orders in Queensland falls under the Domestic and Family Violence Act QLD 2012. It also includes the enforcement of the Queensland Criminal code in certain offences. The main point of this law is to prevent a person (defendant) from committing a heinous act against the applicant through restrictions and orders to the defendant.

Breaching the conditions of a Protection Order is a serious offence and will in most circumstances show up on a person's police check.

Who can apply for a Protection Order?

Anyone who feels aggrieved or threatened by; acts, threats or future acts of a person can apply for a protection order.

All applications should be made to the court with complete details of, and relationship to the respondent.

The legislations allow any of these groups to apply for the protection order for themselves or others;

  • The person seeking protection (aggrieved)
  • The police officer
  • A solicitor or legal representative
  • Someone who is authorized by the aggrieved to make an application on their behalf
  • The aggrieved person’s guardian or attorney under the law
  • A party to the child protection proceeding (especially in the Children’s court of QLD)

People can also apply for a Protection Order on behalf of another person, but they must prove to the court that such person needs the protection.

Children under the age of 18 may apply for a protection order only if they are in an intimate or informal care relationship.

However, they cannot apply for an order if they are in a family relationship with the respondent. Such cases are handled separately through Child Services.

Who makes a protection order?

Only the Magistrate court can make an official or final Order against the respondent. However, the court follows necessary and due steps through hearings and evidence to assert the need for protection.

Also, the Judge of a Supreme or District court can issue a protection order against a respondent in cases of Domestic and Family Violence.

Protection orders for children can also be made during proceedings in the Children’s Court.

Where is a QLD Protection Order active?

A person with a protection order in Queensland will have it registered in other Australian States and Territories including New Zealand.

A person with a Domestic Violence Order outside Queensland will still have the conditions enforced in Queensland.

In Queensland, distance is not a barrier to enforcing the conditions of a Protection Order against a respondent.

Can the Police issue a Protection order?

Where the Police see an urgent or precarious situation, they may issue a Police protection Notice (PPN). The PPO is enforceable immediately and prohibits the aggressor from coming in contact with the aggrieved for a period, and may even allow the Police

  • Take the aggressor to custody
  • Seize any weapon or object of dispute
  • Prohibit the aggressor from contacting the person
  • Apply for a protection order from the court against the aggressor.

The Police protection Notice is a short and temporal protection order. However, depending on the circumstances, the PPN holds till the Magistrate has given a final order.

How long a Police can keep the respondent in custody depends on the circumstance; this must not be more than 8 hours.

The Police Protection Order is a strong application in the Court for a Protection Order.

What happens in the Court during the Protection Order hearing?

When an application for a protection order is submitted, the court will issue a summons to the respondent (accused). The court then sets a date for the hearing, and can enforce any of the following;

  1. Approve final agreements between both parties on the conditions for the order

Mostly happens when both parties have a legal rep, and the respondent does not dispute the Protection order application.

  1. Approve a withdrawal of the application from the aggrieved if both parties agree to an Undertaking. The respondent must sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour towards them or their property in future.

However, If any of the parties refuse the undertaking, the court will proceed to issue (or not) a protection order.

  1. The Case is adjusted for a defended hearing.

The respondent through their legal team will attempt to dispute and argue the veracity of the application and claims.

  1. The Court will issue a final order if the summons was served, but the respondent refused to appear in court.

The court will also impose conditions stipulated, and other custom conditions that suit the Order.

What is a defended protection Order hearing?

If the respondent chooses to defend the protection order charge, the court will adjust the case to a hearing.

At the hearing, the aggrieved person is considered a 'special witness, and the court will order certain safety precautions for them throughout the hearing. The court must also accept that the aggrieved person is more likely to be truthful and needs protection.

The hearings are usually in a closed court; barring the members of the public from attending. However, the court may order leave for certain people if it is helpful to the hearing. Also, the court disallows publishing of any material, details or evidence of the hearing.

How long does a Protection Order last?

The Police Order will remain in place until the court feels the applicant is safe. However, this period is no longer than 5 years except for special reasons.

Both parties can also appeal for an adjustment of the terms. However, it must be within the stipulated period given by the court.

Breach of the Protection order in Queensland

The Police can order the respondent to remain in a place if they are served a Police protection Order application, a Police Protection Notice or a Domestic Violence Order. If an applicant moves out of these conditions, they will be charged with an offence and it will appear on their nationally coordinated criminal history check.

Section 177 (2)(b) of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (QLD) stipulates the conditions and penalties of breaching a Domestic and Family Violence Protection Order.

For first time offenders, the court may impose a maximum penalty of;

  • 120 penalty units
  • 3 years imprisonment terms or both

However, repeat offenders or people with another breach within 5 years may have their penalties increased to;

  • 240 penalty units
  • 5 years imprisonment term

The Accused may also be liable to similar penalties for breaching a Police Protection Notice in Queensland. It is backed by section 178(2) of the Act.

Source

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (QLD) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2012-005

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