18. Evidence of Family Violence

Recommendation 18–1 State and territory courts should ensure that application forms for protection orders include information about the kinds of conduct that constitute family violence.

Recommendation 18–2 Application forms for protection orders under state and territory family violence legislation should require that applicants swear or affirm a statement incorporated in, or attached to, the application form, setting out the basis of the application. Where the applicant is a police officer, the application form should require the police officer to certify the form.

Recommendation 18–3 State and territory family violence legislation should prohibit the respondent in protection order proceedings from personally cross-examining any person against whom the respondent is alleged to have used family violence.

Recommendation 18–4 State and territory courts should require that undertakings by a person against whom a protection order is sought should be in writing on a standard form. The form should require each party to sign an acknowledgment that he or she understands that:

(a) breach of an undertaking is not a criminal offence nor can it be otherwise enforced;

(b) the court’s acceptance of an undertaking does not preclude further action by the applicant to address family violence; and

(c) evidence of breach of an undertaking may be used in later proceedings.

Recommendation 18–5 State and territory family violence legislation should provide that:

(a) mutual protection orders should not be made by consent; and

(b) a court may only make mutual protection orders where it is satisfied that there are grounds for making a protection order against each party.