Amidst the sea of government-issued rules and restrictions our country is facing today in a concerted effort to stem the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, there is another silent and significant danger faced by many Australians as a direct result of these rules. Domestic and family violence.
What are the current restrictions?
We are faced with a situation never encountered before, where it is mandated that we all stay at home and not leave unless we are shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, visiting a terminally ill relative, complying with court orders, exercising or travelling for work or education. If we break these rules, penalties apply. New directions issued last night also now allow up to two visitors at any one time to attend upon you at your home.
An order declaring a public health emergency was declared on 29 January 2020 under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) (“the Act”). The order specified that the area considered to be a ‘public health emergency’ was for ‘all of Queensland’.
On 2 April 2020, the Queensland Chief Health Officer made further directions pursuant to the Act for ‘Home Confinement, Movement and Gatherings’. Those directions are what is currently in place –https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/home-confinement-movemment-gathering-direction
I am in a domestically violent situation so what does this mean for me?
If you are in imminent danger – take yourself out of that situation (if you can) and call triple zero. Otherwise, you need to comply with the restrictions. This is a very concerning situation whereby thousands are in dangerous situations within their own home. The new directions issued by the government last night allow you to take in two visitors or to visit others within their home. Take advantage of this new direction to be with family and friends if you are in a domestically violent household.
There is support that can be accessed via telephone such as DVConnect Womensline (1800 811 811), DVConnect Mensline (1800 600 636) and 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Are the courts still operating?
Yes. It is business as usual for all Queensland Magistrates Courts and for the family courts, with the only difference being the practicalities of how matters are heard.
I need advice and/or help now
If you need legal advice – whether you are contemplating leaving a relationship, are concerned with complying with court orders or need the protection of domestic violence order, please contact us at DA Family Lawyers. We are here for you.