What are the Options in Handling an Domestic Violence Order?
All Domestic Violence Order Applications are generally listed in the Magistrates Court for a First Directions or Mention type hearing. It is at this stage that most people in the court system will advise the recipient of an Application for an Order to simply agree to an Order being made. The other options are, as follows:
1) Court Undertaking :
By providing an Undertaking to the Court that you will not assault, harass or intimidate the Applicant you can avoid the imposition of an Order completely.
This course must however be accepted by the Applicant, which is where legal representation can assist.
An undertaking is essentially a promise to the Court that you will comply. The consequences of a breach of an Undertaking do not result in a criminal charge unlike a Domestic Violence Order, however any such breach may be used as evidence on any subsequent Application making the likelihood of an Order being made greater.
2) Consent to an Order Without Admissions :
This course will result in an Order being made, but without the recipient admitting to any of the allegations of assault, harassment or intimidation. This is commonly the option chosen by the recipient of an when the evidence of those matters alleged are so overwhelming that there is no likely prospect of Defending the Application.
A person should never be too quick to accept this option, however because even if the evidence is beyond all doubt the process of contesting an Order itself may help to resolve disputes between the parties in terms of any associated criminal proceedings or family proceedings or just in general, outside of the strictly legal perspective.
3) Contesting an Order :
This option will generally mean the Application will be adjourned off to a hearing date, where each party will call their respective witnesses to give evidence.
If this option is chosen it is the usual practice of the Court to make an order for an Interim Order to match the date of the next hearing. The Interim Order is essentially the same as a Final Order in that if it is breached in any way criminal charges may be laid.
This course really puts the Applicant to the test of satisfying the Court that there is a real need for an Order to be made. In matters of this nature it is not uncommon for the Applicant in the time between the first appearance at Court and the Contest Hearing date to change their mind about going forward with the Order Application.