Who can apply for a domestic violence order and against who?
The protection of a Domestic Violence Order and the restrictions an order imposes are only available if the person protected and the respondent are, or were in a relevant relationship.
A Court cannot make a Domestic Violence Order unless there is a relevant relationship between the aggrieved and the respondent.
This issue effects whether a person can apply for an order and provides a possible defence to an application for an order.
There are other options to restrain the behaviour of a person with whom you do not have a relevant relationship.
What is the legal definition of a relevant domestic relationship?
A relevant relationship includes:
An intimate personal relationship;
A family relationship;
An informal care relationship.
Intimate Personal Relationship.
An Intimate personal relationship includes:
A spousal relationship. The scope of a spousal relationship extends to a former spouse, the parent of any child of the parties or anyone else with parental responsibility of a child of the parties.
An engagement relationship including a former engagement.
A couple relationship.
A Court must decide whether there is a couple relationship after assessing these factors:
The circumstances of the relationship e.g. degree of trust between the persons; and the level of each person’s dependence on, and commitment to, the other person.
The length of time of the relationship.
The frequency of contact between the persons.
The degree of intimacy.
Whether the trust, dependence or commitment is or was of the same level.
Any financial independence
Joint ownership of any property including joint bank accounts.
Any sexual relationship.
Whether the relationship was exclusive.
Merely dating does not amount to a couple relationship. Dating is not defined but has been described as follows:
“The term is ordinarily used colloquially when two people meet socially in public, usually involving some romantic interest beyond mere friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability for an intimate relationship. It is a precursor to the establishment of a couple relationship.” (MDE v MLG & Queensland Police Service  QDC 151, Morzone QC DCJ)
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