Abusive behaviour and protection orders

May 7th, 2012

by the FindLaw Team

The actions which can be subject to protection orders caused by domestic or family violence cover a broad range of behaviours and vary between the States. However, generally speaking, conduct that can form a basis for a protection order may include:

  • physical injuries;
  • sexual abuse;
  • threatening behaviour;
  • harassing or offensive behaviour;
  • deprivation of liberty;
  • property damage;
  • stalking;
  • injury to animals;
  • threats to carry out any of the above behaviours.

Is psychological abuse also covered in domestic violence and family violence laws?

Legislation across all jurisdictions has recognised the effect psychological and emotional abuse, and coercive or controlling conduct can have on a victim and has now been reflected in statute law. The types of emotional and psychologically abusive behaviour that the Act deems as abusive are:

  • repeated derogatory taunts that can include racial taunts;
  • threats to disclose a person’s sexual orientation to family and friends against the person’s wishes;
  • threats to withhold a person’s medication;
  • preventing a person from making or keeping connections with their family, friends or culture – which can include preventing a person from expressing or practicing cultural or spiritual ceremonies;
  • threats to commit suicide or self-harm with the intention of intimidating or tormenting a family member, or threatening death or injury of another person.

What are the requirements for the issuing of a protection order?

The courts apply an objective test on whether the fear from a person is objectively warranted and that it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities.