Accused of Domestic Violence? What to do if this happens to you?
Domestic Violence is a serious crime. The toll on its victims, families and any children witness to it is a very real and significant one. The impact often reaches beyond physical harm, having the potential to destroy lives. To be charged with such an offence can ruin reputations, impact careers and destroy relationships between family and friends. The falsely accused could even end up imprisoned.
It’s no wonder then that it can be extremely distressing to be falsely accused of domestic violence. Yet false accusations of domestic violence happen every day.
Loved ones of the accused, both past and present, family members, spouses and siblings are often the ones who make false claims of domestic violence. Often these accusations include exaggerations of the truth and, in some cases, even outright lies. The motivation of the accusing person making such allegations is to manipulate you or the court system for personal gain. For example, during a custody case, a spouse may falsely claim that their partner was guilty of committing a domestic violence offence against them in order to swing the outcomes in court to their favour.
What happens when a complaint of domestic violence is made to police?
Where there are claims of domestic violence made, an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is often put in place in order to protect the victim. Unfortunately, AVOs are overused and often highly unnecessary. Having an AVO placed against you can have serious repercussions such as limiting access to your place of work, your home and/or contact with your family and friends.
An AVO or Apprehended Violence Order is an order made by the court that prohibits the behaviour of one person to protect another person from fear, intimidation, harassment and for their safety.
In addition to an AVO, if the police are satisfied that there is enough evidence domestic violence took place the police will also likely charge you with a violent crime such as common assault, stalking and intimidating or other offence. As such, it is recommended you seek legal advice immediately if you have been accused or charged with domestic violence.
Australian Criminal Law Group is home to Sydney’s leading AVO defence lawyers. We work tirelessly to defend our clients against false accusations and charges relating to domestic violence. We have offices based in Sydney, Parramatta and Blacktown and represent clients from across the broader Sydney area. If you need further representation or advice, make a website enquiry here or call our free 24/7 hotline on 02 8815 8167.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a violent offence committed by one person against another with whom they are considered to be in a ‘domestic relationship’. This may include allegations of assault, property damage, intimidation, stalking or harassing and any breach of an apprehended violence order (AVO).
There is no specific offence for domestic violence in NSW, however, the courts and legislation consider domestic violence a crime. Accusations of domestic violence can lead to being charged with a criminal offence.
Such criminal offences include;
- Common assault
- Stalking and intimidating
- Contravene apprehended violence order (AVO)
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
- Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm
- Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm
- Recklessly wounding
What is a ‘domestic relationship’?
The law considers you to be in a ‘domestic relationship’ if married to the other person. It also includes past and present de-facto relationships, intimate personal relationships, and housemates.
The law also considers you to be in a ‘domestic relationship’ if you are related to one another, or if you have ever been dependent on that person, including paid or unpaid carers.
It is important to note that the definition of ‘domestic relationship’ also extends to anyone who has had a domestic relationship with the same person. That is, for example, your ex-partner’s new partner, or your partner’s ex-partner. of the person, you have had a past domestic relationship with.
What to do if accused of Domestic Violence?;
We recommend the use of a good criminal lawyer for all domestic violence charges. The sooner your criminal solicitor can start to build your defence, the better the chances of success.
You will need to provide evidence for your case to your solicitor. They will need anything that helps dispute the claims made against you. Collect all evidence in preparation for your meeting with them. This may include a list of potential witnesses or details relating to the incident in question. You should also record dates, times, locations, and anything that took place. By doing this, you are less likely to miss or forget details that could help your case.
You will also need to watch what you say and do to avoid providing communication against you to the accuser. If possible, keep your distance from the accuser. You must also follow any AVOs in place precisely to avoid the criminal offence charge of contravened apprehended violence order.
Defending against charges of a violent offence
Your legal team will want to prove that the claims against you are untrue.
The prosecution will need to provide enough evidence to support their claims and prove beyond reasonable doubt your guilt. Similarly, your lawyer will use evidence to undermine the claims against you. If your accuser is unable to make a believable enough case that an offence took place, you could have charges against you dropped.
Your legal representative will likely use self-defence in cases where this can be argued. Often defendants have simply been acting in self-defence against a violent partner. The original attacker, then falsely accuses their partner of violence. In these cases, your legal representative will likely want to use the defence of self defence to get you the best result in court.
The test requires two ‘limbs’ to be satisfied to determine if it was self-defence.
- That you acted in self-defence if you believe your actions were necessary to
- To defend yourself or another person; or
- To prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of your liberty or the liberty of another person; or
- To protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference; or
- To prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass.
- You acted reasonably in response to the circumstances as you perceived them.
Why choose the Australian Criminal Law Group to Defend your Domestic Violence Charges?
Our criminal lawyers regularly represent clients accused of domestic violence and are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for related violence charges. If you have been accused of domestic violence, a good lawyer can be the difference between a conviction and no criminal record and freedom or jail.
Crimes Act 1900 No 40, Current version for 1 January 2022 to date (accessed 20 March 2022 at 21:52) https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1900-040
This information is intended as a general guide to law only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, and it is recommended that you speak with a qualified lawyer about your situation.
Australian Criminal Law Group and its suppliers make every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information provided on its web pages. At the time of updating, this information was correct, however, given the laws in NSW and Australia are continually changing, the Australian Criminal Law Group makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy.