Domestic Violence Defence Lawyers Sydney (2023)

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,ParramattaandBlacktownand 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;

(Video) Common Assault | Sydney Criminal Lawyers®

  • Common assault
  • Stalking and intimidating
  • Contraveneapprehended violence order (AVO)
  • Assaultoccasioning actual bodily harm
  • Murder
  • 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.

(Video) Family lawyer exposes the domestic violence racket corrupting our courts

Read more about what to do if falsely accused

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-defenceif 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.

Read more about self-defence here

(Video) Contravening an Apprehended Violence Order | Sydney Criminal Lawyers®

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.

To discuss your charge, call Australian Criminal Law Group at our Sydney, Parramatta, and Blacktown offices or make a website inquiry today.


Crimes Act 1900 No 40, Current version for 1 January 2022 to date (accessed 20 March 2022 at 21:52)


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.

(Video) Woman hits herself to 'frame husband for domestic violence' | A Current Affair Australia

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.


Can I sue for damages of domestic violence in Australia? ›

In Australia, Domestic Violence Redress, a joint venture between survivor charity, The Brigid Project, and law firm, The People's Solicitors, aims to make these actions widely available to survivors. Most people don't know that suing an abusive ex-partner is even possible. But it certainly is.

Can I drop charges against someone for domestic violence Australia? ›

A common misconception that people have is that the alleged victim can withdraw charges. This is not true. As police are the party that has laid the charges, only police can withdraw domestic violence charges. The same applies to police AVOs (apprehended violence orders).

What is the average sentence for domestic violence in Australia? ›

Type of Domestic Violence OffenceMaximum Penalty in Local CourtMaximum Penalty in District Court
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm: 59 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)2-years jail or $5,500 fine, or both5-years jail
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm in companySame as above7-years jail
18 Nov 2021

What is the punishment for domestic violence case? ›

(1) A breach of protection order, or of an interim protection order, by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees, or with both.

Can I sue my wife for emotional abuse Australia? ›

You can make a compensation claim against your spouse if they caused you severe emotional distress. The criteria for cases involving a loved one (including a spouse or family member) are the same as filing other emotional distress lawsuits.

Can you sue someone for emotional trauma in Australia? ›

The short answer is yes. In Australia, you can sue for emotional trauma in relation to work or emotional distress following a car accident.

How many domestic violence cases get dismissed Australia? ›

Statistics show only one in five people who commit domestic violence are convicted, 60 per cent of all cases dropped.

Can a victim withdraw a statement? ›

If you're a victim or prosecution witness, you can ask the Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS ) to see your statement again before you go to court to refresh your memory. You can add things to your statement if you remember them later on, but you cannot withdraw it.

Can police press charges if victim doesn't want to Australia? ›

If it is a crime like assault or domestic violence, the police can decide to lay charges even if you don't want them to. They will speak to you about this decision.

How are domestic violence cases handled in Australia? ›

Australian domestic and family violence laws

The Commonwealth has some provision for handling cases of domestic and family violence under the Family Law Act 1975 (Family Law Act). However, state and territory laws and court systems handle the vast majority of domestic and family violence cases.

Why is domestic violence so high in Australia? ›

Risk factors for domestic violence

For example, perpetrators' alcohol and drug use, and victims' experience of child abuse, pregnancy and separation may all increase the risk of domestic violence. Financial stress, personal stress and lack of social support are also strong correlates of violence against women.

What does the law say about domestic violence? ›

Domestic violence in India includes any form of violence suffered by a person from a biological relative but typically is the violence suffered by a woman by male members of her family or relatives. Although Men also suffer Domestic violence, the law under IPC 498A specifically protects only women.

Can you get bail in domestic violence case? ›

Yes, you can get bail on the basis requisite ground maintainable before court of law. If it appears that fact of cases are based on false allegations. If it appears before court of law that accused not habitual criminal.

Can domestic violence case be quashed? ›

The domestic violence case can be quashed by the apex court when the wife filed an vague allegations domestic violence case or the husband has all appropriate evidence to prove his quashing case by telling the apex court that all allegation is false and vague in nature by producing the supporting evidence.

Is domestic violence case criminal? ›

The determination of rights under Chapter IV of the Domestic Violence Act does not result in penal consequences so as to term it as criminal proceedings. Thus, proceedings under Chapter IV of the Domestic Violence Act are civil in nature. Penal consequences follow only when there is a breach of protection order.

What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse? ›

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
  • They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
  • They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
  • They are Manipulative. ...
  • They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
23 May 2017

Can I sue my ex for trauma? ›

Yes, but only in rare situations in which your ex's behavior was really bad and the distress you suffer is severe. In some states you must have physical symptoms to move a case forward. You do not need to have suffered physical abuse, but a standard breakup is not enough.

How do you prove emotional distress in Australia? ›

Proving Psychological Injury

You can show damage through proof of negligence and proof of medical treatment. By seeking medical treatment, you can establish both the existence of your injury, and the cost of the injury.

Can someone be charged for emotional abuse Australia? ›

In Australia, domestic violence is defined by the Family Law Act (1975) as “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family, or causes the family member to be fearful”. This means that verbal and emotional abuse are both forms of domestic violence.

How do you prove psychological injury? ›

To make a common law claim for a psychological injury in NSW, you'll need the following information: Details of your psychological injury and impairments. Details of the event or events that led to the injury. Details of any previous injury or condition that may have contributed to your condition.

How do you prove emotional injury? ›

To prove emotional distress as an injury, you need to be able to demonstrate cause and effect. This may mean documenting changes to your regular daily routines, submitting letters from friends, colleagues and your employer, and providing proof of any medical treatment you've sought for your symptoms.

Can charges be dropped before court Australia? ›

The only way to have charges withdrawn is by the prosecution, police prosecutors who handle criminal matters at the Magistrates' Court or the Office of Public Prosecutions if your matter is listed in the County or Supreme Courts.

Who is most affected by domestic violence in Australia? ›

Women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner. Almost 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse or domestic partner. Almost one in 10 women (9.4%) have experienced violence by a stranger since the age of 15.

How can charges be dropped before court date? ›

Presenting Exculpatory Evidence

The Prosecutor needs to believe that you committed the offense to be able to charge you. But if you can provide any evidence, in the form of witnesses or physical evidence, that proves you did not commit the offense, the Prosecutor will get your charges dropped.

What happens if you lie in a witness statement? ›

If you are a claimant, witness or an expert making a false statement it is likely that you will face committal proceedings for contempt of court.

Is a witness statement enough to convict? ›

What is reassuring for defendants is that whilst a signed statement from a complainant is enough for a charge, it is not necessarily enough to secure a conviction. The complainant must be able to convince the jury or magistrates that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Can I find out if the police are investigating me? ›

The Data Protection Act 2018 gives you the right to ask if the police holds, or is processing, any personal data about you. This is called the right of access and is commonly known as making a subject access request or SAR. To make a subject access request, visit our Request information about myself or others page.

How do you defend yourself against false accusations in Australia? ›

If you have been falsely accused or charged with a crime you didn't commit, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself.
  1. Get legal assistance. The first thing you need to do is get legal representation. ...
  2. Watch what you say and do. ...
  3. Gather witnesses and evidence. ...
  4. Listen to your legal defence team.

How long do police have to lay charges NSW? ›

The statute of limitations in NSW is 6-months for summary offences. This means that if it has been more than 6 months since the alleged offence occurred, you cannot be found guilty. This limitation is contained in Section 179(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW).

How long do police have to bring charges? ›

Effectively, this means the police must charge (or lay an information before a Magistrates' Clerk) within six months of the date of the offence (section 127(1) Magistrates' Courts Act 1980). For all other offences, there is no statutory time limit.

Do you go to jail for domestic violence in Australia? ›

A supervised order includes a conditional release order with or without conviction, community corrections order or intensive correction order. Depending on the type of domestic violence offence, a court can impose a penalty on sentence ranging from a maximum of 2-years through to life imprisonment.

What kind of therapy is best for domestic violence? ›

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT is an effective treatment for reducing PTSD and depression symptoms following interpersonal victimization, including physical and sexual assault.

Which court deals with domestic violence in Australia? ›

The Family Violence Court, a specialist court in the Magistrates Court, hears criminal matters connected to domestic and family violence, such as assaults on family members, and applications for intervention orders (even where the relationship has ceased).

What profession has the highest domestic violence rate? ›

So which occupation has the highest rate? That would be police officers. Studies have found that a minimum of 40 percent of families of officers have experienced some type of domestic violence. This can include anything from harassment and stalking to homicide.

What ethnicity commits the most domestic violence? ›

Rates of reported contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking in their lifetime by race/ethnicity2...
  • 45.1% of non-Hispanic Black women / 40.1% of non-Hispanic Black men.
  • 37.3% of non-Hispanic White women / 30.3% of non-Hispanic White men.
  • 34.4% of Hispanic women / 30% of Hispanic men.

What country has the most domestic violence? ›

Limitations and Exceptions: Collecting valid, reliable, and ethical data on domestic violence poses particular challenges because what constitutes violence or abuse varies across cultures and among individuals.
102 more columns

What does domestic violence do to mental health? ›

The evidence suggests that domestic abuse can affect mental health and lead to the victims developing mental health problems, such as anxiety or PTSD, or people who already have mental health problems will be likely to experience domestic violence.

What are the 3 phases in the domestic violence cycle? ›

The cycle of violence is a pattern of behaviors which keeps survivors locked in the abusive relationship.
  • First is the tension building phase. In this phase, the batterer gets edgy and tension begins to build up. ...
  • Second is the actual explosion phase where the physical abuse occurs. ...
  • Third is the honeymoon phase.

How does domestic violence affect a woman mentally? ›

These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. One study shows that the likelihood of abused women experiencing PTSD is seven times higher than for those who have not been abused. The risk of abused women developing depression and anxiety is also high.

Can domestic violence case continue after divorce? ›

when there is divorce decree by mutual consent she can't file the domestic violence case against you and your parents. if the case is filed after divorce decree it is not maintainable and has to be dismissed.

Do we need bail in DV case? ›

Domestic violence case is not a non bailable case. Where as dowry harassment case is a non bailable case where police can arrest without warrant. It is always advisable to apply for anticipatory bail to protect yourself from arrest.

Can I withdraw my statement in a domestic violence case? ›

If you withdraw your statement, the case might still go to court if the police think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. If you want to withdraw your statement because you're worried about giving evidence, you should tell the police how you feel.

How do you handle a false DV case? ›

If a person is registered under a false case of dowry and or domestic violence then he can simply file a counter case on his wife with all the required and relevant evidences he has with him or can gather as soon as possible.

What comes under domestic violence case? ›

Domestic violence means and includes the following: Causing hurt, injury or danger to life, limb, health, safety or well-being, whether mental or physical. Causing harm, injury, or danger to the woman with an intention to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any demand for dowry.

What type of crime is domestic? ›

These crimes include domestic abuse, rape, sexual offences, stalking, harassment, so-called 'honour-based' violence including forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child abuse, human trafficking focusing on sexual exploitation, prostitution, pornography and obscenity.

Which scale is most commonly used to measure domestic assault? ›

It is a self-report measure composed of 15 items on a four-point Likert scale (ranging from 1 = not at all to 4 = often).

Do victims of abuse get compensation? ›

You can get compensation for: physical injuries. disabling mental injuries. sexual or physical abuse.

Can I sue for emotional damage? ›

The courts recognize emotional distress as a type of damage that can be recovered through a civil lawsuit. This means you can sue someone for emotional trauma or distress if you can provide evidence to support your claims.

Can you sue someone for assault in Australia? ›

Any person who has been assaulted is entitled to make a claim as against the assailant. It does not matter who the assailant is. It may be a family member, a neighbour or a stranger.

Can I claim for emotional abuse? ›

You may be able to claim compensation for domestic abuse, if there is evidence that a "crime of violence" has taken place. This means that physical or sexual violence is awarded compensation. The CICA do not pay compensation for the following: Emotional abuse.

Can victim Support help with money? ›

The Hardship Fund provides temporary financial help to very low paid workers who have to take time off work, because they have been a victim of violent crime. The Fund makes a payment to victims whose injuries are not covered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

Can you claim for psychological abuse? ›

Regardless of whether the abuse is physical, mental or sexual or whether the abuser is an individual or an organisation, you are entitled to file a compensation claim for any injuries stemming from the abuse. You can also file a case against child abuse, elderly abuse and neglect.

What emotional things can you sue for? ›

In California, you can sue for emotional distress, even in situations where individuals were not physically harmed. Victims are able to sue on one of two grounds: Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, or Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

Can I sue my ex husband for PTSD? ›

Yes, you can sue your ex-husband for intentional emotional distress so long you can conclusively prove that: His behavior was extreme. He was reckless and intentionally inflicted the distress. You suffered severe mental stress because of his actions.

Can you sue your ex for emotional trauma? ›

Yes, but only in rare situations in which your ex's behavior was really bad and the distress you suffer is severe. In some states you must have physical symptoms to move a case forward. You do not need to have suffered physical abuse, but a standard breakup is not enough.

What are the five signs of emotional distress? ›

Common warning signs of emotional distress include:
  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
  • Pulling away from people and things.
  • Having low or no energy.
  • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches.
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
16 May 2022

What is the lowest charge of assault? ›

The lowest form of assault is considered a Class C Misdemeanor. The highest penalty one can receive for a Class C Misdemeanor assault is a fine that can be no higher than $500.
There is no class B assault, it jumps from C to A.
  1. 3rd Degree Felony Assault. ...
  2. 2nd Degree Aggravated Assault. ...
  3. 1st Degree Aggravated Assault.

Can you be charged without evidence Australia? ›

It is important to remember that the police can charge you on the basis of what you have said in your statement. You can also be found guilty of a crime based only on what you have said in your statement, where there is no other evidence.

Is slapping someone assault in Australia? ›

If the conduct had occurred in New South Wales, the charge that would likely have been brought is 'common assault'. This is an offence under section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which can occur without any touching at all; just causing another person to 'apprehend immediate and unlawful violence' is enough.


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