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Domestic violence offences are considered by Judges and Magistrates to be incredibly serious, and with the recent increased focus on domestic violence incidents, the Courts have an increased focus on protecting the victims of domestic violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

While there is no specific offence in relation to domestic violence, and domestic violence is generally prosecuted under the general offences of assault or intimidation, where the offence occurs in the presence of a domestic relationship, there are some differences in the way the Court will treat the matter. For example, there are certain matters that the Court must take into consideration when sentencing a person for a domestic violence offence under section 4A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. Under this legislation, the starting point for sentences in domestic violence matters is either a full-time custodial sentence, or supervision. In the event that the Court considers that an alternate sentence is appropriate, the Court must give their reasons for imposing an alternate sentence. The safety of the victim is the paramount concern, and the Court must consider the potential effect of any alternate sentence on the victim’s safety before imposing an alternate to full-time custody.

In addition, section 4A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 require a Court to impose a full-time custodial sentence where an accused breaches an AVO with an act of violence.

How can we help?

It is important to seek legal advice before providing an interview to Police in relation to any domestic violence-related incident. Our Coutts Criminal Law team has the expertise to assist you throughout the process.

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