As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Month, it is only proper that we take a look at the situation of the women across our country, if not the world.
Domestic violence is one of the prevalent issues in our society dating back from the ancient books in our history. The stories we’ve heard and reports we’ve read from different sources may cause us so much heart break but that is the reality. Recent news in Australia would reveal that domestic violence continues to persist in our country.
Studies would show that in our country, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. One in three women had experienced at least one incident of violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15. Violence against women haunts the country pegging a total cost of $21.7 billion a year to the Australian economy. This is seriously alarming considering that various efforts from different groups have been made calling to end violence against women and children.
To put things in their proper perspective, let us first understand what is domestic violence? Domestic violence refers to violence, abuse and intimidation between people who are or who have had an intimate relationship. The perpetrator uses violence to control and dominate another person, causing fear, physical or psychological harm, and death. It occurs across all ages and all socioeconomic and demographic groups, but predominantly among women and children.
In New South Wales, the principal legislation relating to apprehended violence orders in the domestic violence context, and to domestic violence- specific offences, is the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) the (NSW Act). The law is crafted primarily to ensure the safety and protection of all persons, including children, who experience or witness domestic violence and to reduce and prevent violence by a person against another person where a domestic relationship exists between those persons among others.
In order to achieve such objectives, courts are empowered to make apprehended domestic violence orders to protect people from domestic violence, intimidation, harassment and stalking. Likewise, it guaranteed that access to courts is as safe, speedy, inexpensive and simple as is consistent with justice.
Under the NSW Act, a court may make, on application, an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO). An ADVO is an order for the protection of a person against someone with whom the person has or had a “domestic relationship.” In NSW Act, the person for whose protection an ADVO is sought or made is called “the protected person” and the person against whom the order is sought or made is called the “defendant”.
Which relationships are covered?
The term “domestic relationship” is defined in S5 of the NSW Act to extend to
marriage, de facto relationships, intimate personal relationship whether or not involving a relationship of a sexual nature, relationships between persons living in the same household, and relationships between relatives, among others.
Grounds when an order may be made
Under S 16(1), a court may make an ADVO, on application, if satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a person who has or has had a “domestic relationship” with the defendant has reasonable grounds to fear, and in fact fears the commission by the defendant of a “personal violence offence” against the protected person or if there is intimidation or stalking caused upon the protected person or the person to whom the latter has a domestic relationship. In certain circumstances, actual fear on the part of the protected person is not required. This includes situation where the protected person is a child under 16 or where, in the opinion of the court, the protected person has been subjected to, or is reasonably likely to be subjected to, conduct amounting to a “personal violence offence”. The term “personal violence offence” is defined to include an offence under a provision of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) specified in S4(a) of the NSW Act.
Having learned about the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) the (NSW Act) would lead us to conclude that the law seeks to eliminate discrimination and violence against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of women.