Domestic Violence

by George Sten & Co

1. Introduction

Domestic Violence is a common occurrence in Australia. It is important to obtain the optimal legal representation immediately if you have been arrested for a Domestic Violence related incident..

If you have been charged with domestic violence, breaching a family violence order or apprehended violence order or require an AVO lawyer to make an application on your behalf.  It is important to seek legal advice immediately, the Criminal Lawyers at George Sten are available for urgent telephone advice 24 hours a day.  George Sten & Co has over 45 years experience in Criminal Law. Don’t take chances with your reputation, future or livelihood. George Sten & Co are one of Sydney’s leading criminal law firms. We only practice in Criminal Law. If you have been arrested talk to our Criminal Defence Lawyers before you agree to a police interview. This could be the difference to your out come in court. 

2. What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence in NSW is covered by the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) (the act). Section 16 of the act considers acts of physical violence, intimidation and stalking in a domestic relationship to be domestic violence. Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) or criminal charges may be made against people engaging in this conduct.

A domestic relationship is covered by section 5 of the act. This definition is broad and covers partners, relatives, carers and people you live with. At George, Sten and Co we are able to further advise you as to whether a domestic relationship exists in a given situation. 

3. Potential Consequences

3.1 Children’s Custody Consequences

ADVOs may hinder a person’s claim regarding rights over their children in Family Law Proceedings. Sections 60CC(3)(j) – (k) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) indicate that a Family Court should consider an ADVO and its surrounding circumstances. This places people with an ADVO at a disadvantage when seeking unsupervised time with their children or rights regarding their long term decision making (Parental Responsibility) if they separate from the other parent. Breaching an ADVO could have a potentially devastating effect on your legal rights over your child.

3.2 Potential Criminal Consequences

People found guilty of Domestic Violence or breaching an ADVO may be subjected to a fine, term of imprisonment or both. Where a person is found guilty of a crime the criminal charge may also be recorded. Accordingly it may be seen by prospective employers on a national police check. As many employers require these checks, it may restrict your ability to obtain employment. Difficulties may also arise in your current workplace where updated police checks are required.

At George Sten & Co we are able to provide optimal legal representation. This gives you the greatest chance of avoiding criminal charges and resulting difficulties with any Family Law proceedings, employment, fines or terms of imprisonment.  Using our services may thus lower the damage to your reputation, employment or livelihood. 

4. Statistics

4.1 Prevalence

Australian police deal with an estimated 657 domestic violence matters on average every day of the year. That's one every two minutes.

So far today police in Australia would have dealt with on average 206 domestic violence matters


Those figures are based on data provided by police services around the country about how often their officers work on domestic violence cases.

Overall, the count is 239,846 per year around the country.

There is no standard definition of domestic and family violence across all jurisdictions in Australia and no standard way for counting the number of police call-outs to situations related to domestic violence.

The details of the data being captured varies across jurisdictions and can include:

  • attendance at suspected domestic and family violence incidents;
  • domestic and family violence court orders made by the police;
  • domestic and family violence assaults (encompassing threats and physical violence); and
  • associated agencies reporting domestic and family violence to the police. 

4.1.1 Violence

This survey indicated that nearly 1 in 2 men (an estimated 49%) experienced physical violence and around 1 in 22 men (an estimated 4.5%) experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. More than 1 in 3 women (approximately 34%) experienced physical violence and nearly 1 in 5 women (an estimated 19%) experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.

These experiences of violence illustrate how common violence is in Australia. These statistics account for all violence and not only domestic violence. 

4.1.2 Partner Violence

The survey indicates that over 1 in 20 men (an estimated 5.3%) experienced violence from their partner since the age of 15. This is compared to over 1 in 6 women (approximately 16.9%).

This data indicates that despite men’s higher exposure to violence, women have experienced more domestic violence then men since age 15. It is also important to note that as 1 in 20 men have experienced Domestic Violence it is an issue for both genders. 

4.2 Enforcement

The NSW Bureau of Crime, Statistics and Research have released statistics regarding the grant and breach of ADVOs. These can be reviewed at Table 1 by clicking the following link

4.2.1 ADVOs Granted

The number of ADVOs has increased from 2009 to 2013. In 2009 24,303 ADVOs were granted in all NSW local courts. In 2013 this number increased to 25,535. On average 24,605 ADVOs were granted each year from 2009 – 2013.

4.2.2 ADVOs Breached

In 2009 7,773 criminal charges were brought for breaching an ADVO. In 2013 this increased to 9,593 criminal charges. On average from 2009 - 2013 8,891 criminal charges for breaches of an ADVO were brought each year. During 2009 to 2013 on average over 1 in 3 (approximately 36%) criminal charges were made for breaching an ADVO when compared with the total ADVOs granted. This shows the high rate of criminal charges made against those under an ADVO.

This data illustrates the importance of seeking independent legal advice. At George, Stern and Co we are able to advise you of your rights and obligations if an application is made against you, you are subject to an ADVO order or are accused of breaching the order. 

5. What to do if you have been arrested?

If you have been arrested it is important to inform police that you wish to seek legal representation. You should identify yourself to police and provide relevant details to be contacted. You should then book an appointment with George Sten and Co Criminal Defence Lawyers, to discuss the merits of your arrest and any available options. It is imperative you do not provide further information to the police until you have engaged us as your legal representation.

6. Conclusion

Domestic Violence is prevalent in Australian society. Despite this, severe consequences may occur to any person accused of committing such violence. At George Sten and Co we are experienced in these matters and are able to obtain the best possible outcomes for you. This provides you with the optimal opportunity to keep your reputation, employment and livelihood intact.

Visit our offices in Sydney's CBD, or call us on 9261 8640 or our 24 hour line 0412 423 569 to get fast and correct legal advice.


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