Is the incident of domestic violence happening now? Is anyone seriously injured or in immediate danger? Is anyone’s life being threatened?
Contact the police on Triple Zero (000)
Non-urgent domestic violence
For all other domestic violence related matters, phone Policelink on 131 444, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can make contact with a police officer or police station closest to you.
Non urgent domestic violence matters can also be reported directly on the Queensland Police website. There is a designated DV Reporting portal and online form that you can use to request to be contacted by an officer via phone or email. https://www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting
Message service for deaf, hearing impaired and vulnerable persons
The Queensland Police Service has a messaging service which allows deaf, hearing-impaired and vulnerable persons in Queensland to contact police for non-urgent matters.
This service is designed for events where police assistance is required but cannot be contacted through Policelink 131444 or Triple Zero.
To access this service deaf, hearing impaired and vulnerable persons are required to first register by completing an online form on the Queensland Police website. https://forms.police.qld.gov.au/MessageService
Once registered, you will be able to use the mobile telephone number 0437 131 444 or email PolicelinkDS@police.qld.gov.au to contact police for non-urgent matters. It is recommended that you save these contact details somewhere safe and easily accessible.
It is important your message contains your name, the incident location and a short description of exactly why you are contacting police.
Messages are received by Policelink. They will then process your information to ensure the appropriate police response is provided.
How the police might assist
What police will do when you make a domestic violence report
If you call police to report a domestic violence incident that is happening now or has just happened, police’s first priority will be the safety of the people involved.
By law, if police reasonably suspect domestic violence is happening or has just happened, police can enter and search the premises. This is to ensure that people are safe from any further harm and violence, and to find and gather evidence.
Police could liaise with all people involved to determine what has occurred. The police officer may ask questions about:
- the relationship between the people involved
- any history of domestic violence
- the incident being investigated
Police may request the name and address of any person, including witnesses, involved in a domestic violence incident.
The QPS can connect people experiencing domestic violence with specialist support and services. You can ask police to make a referral to an appropriate support agency for you.
LGBTI domestic violence
Under Queensland law, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are entitled to the same rights in relationships where abuse has occurred.
How might police protect a victim of domestic violence?
- If police reasonably suspect domestic violence has/is occurring, they must investigate.
- If after investigation domestic violence is believed to have taken place, police can issue a Police Protection Notice (PPN) to the perpetrator of violence. This is a short-term order that remains in force until the matter is heard by a Magistrate. The PPN requires them to be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved, and may also prevent them from contacting the aggrieved or coming within a certain distance of a premises for 24 hours.
- If police believe the aggrieved is in immediate danger, they can take the respondent into custody for up to four hours. Police must apply for a protection order during this time.
- If, after four hours, police believe the aggrieved is still not safe, or if the respondent is too intoxicated to understand the meaning of the protection order, they can continue to hold them in custody.
- If the aggrieved has been injured, police can charge the perpetrator of violence with a criminal offence as well as taking out a protection order.
What happens when police apply for a Domestic Violence Order?
When police apply for a protection order, the application will be assessed by a magistrate. The magistrate may make a temporary protection order to keep the aggrieved safe until the permanent protection order is issued.
The protection order will require that the perpetrator of violence is of good behaviour and does not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved. They will not be allowed to possess any weapons or a weapons licence for the duration of the order. Other conditions may be imposed, depending on the situation. A protection order does not necessarily mean that a family will be divided or contact between the people involved will not be allowed.
The perpetrator of violence will not receive a criminal record or be imprisoned when the protection order is made. But, if they breach the conditions of the protection order, criminal charges may be instigated.
As of 25 November 2017, domestic violence orders issued in any Australian state or territory will be automatically recognised and enforceable nationwide. It is not necessary to register a domestic violence order in another state or territory for it to be enforceable. Domestic Violence Orders issued prior to 25 November 2017 can become nationally recognised by applying to any court in Australia.
What would result in a breach of the DVO?
In generally, every domestic violence order has a standard condition that the respondent must be of good behaviour and not commit acts domestic violence against you the people named on the order. Other conditions may include (but are not limited to):
- Respondent must not enter or frequent the aggrieved’s residential premises, workplace or places commonly attended by the aggrieved;
- Respondent must not come within (a specified distance) of the aggrieved;
- Respondent must not contact or ask any other person to contact the aggrieved;
- Respondent must not attempt to locate the aggrieved; or
- Respondent must not commit acts of domestic violence against the aggrieved.
A respondent who directly or indirectly breaches DVO conditions may have criminal charges raised against them.
What to do when a DVO is breached?
If you believe that the respondent has breached a DVO, the police have a duty to investigate the domestic violence claim. You should not at any time, take matters in your own hands.
When to call Triple Zero (000)
If the respondent breaches the conditions of the DVO and the respondent is committing acts of domestic violence now (i.e. the incident is time critical or life threatening), the aggrieved should call the police immediately on 000.
When to phone Policelink (131 444)
If the breach is not happening now, or the incident is not life threatening and there is little likelihood of the respondent breaching the DVO in the immediate future, then you should consider phoning Policelink on 131 444.
You can also attend your local police station for complaints of such nature.
Notably, the police may charge the respondent with breaching the DVO. If they do so, the respondent will then need to appear before the court as it may then be deemed a criminal offence.
If the police officer doesn’t take a report or act on your complaint
If you believe that the police officer did not report, take the breach allegation seriously or did not act on your complaint, then you should contact your local police station or region and request to speak with the Head Officer of the station or the Police Domestic Violence Liaison Officer. Note the name of the police officer who attended your call and provide the details of the breach, date and time, police officer who responded to the call. Alternatively, seek urgent legal advice.
Maintain and retain up-to-date notes
You should write down and collect all information of any potential breaches of a DVO condition by the respondent. The following are steps you can take to retain key information identifying a potential breach, this information assists police with their investigation and can be used in court:
- record any voice messages left on your telephone or mobile numbers;
- diarise key dates, time, locations, venues;
- take photos wherever it is safe to do so;
- screenshot any relevant SMS text message from the respondent;
- screenshot any relevant social media posts by the respondent; and
- retain letters and mail sent to your residential address.
What next? What are the penalties?
A breach of DVO conditions is heard in the Magistrates Court of Queensland unless it is a severe breach, in which case it may be escalated to the District Court.
The type of penalties a court may impose for a breach of a DVO is determined by the seriousness of the offence committed by the respondent. A DVO made against someone does not automatically result in a criminal record and it will depend largely on criminal histories and previous complaints of domestic violence.
A court may order the respondent to undertake community service or be placed on good behaviour bond for an indirect, unintentional or minor breach of the DVO conditions.
In more serious cases, it could result in two to three years’ imprisonment or fines up to $14,628.
As such, a breach of domestic violence conditions should not be treated lightly by a respondent as serious penalties can apply.