Domestic and Family Violence Prosecutions


Domestic Violence.
Family Violence.
Withdrawing the Charges.

Domestic Violence.


Domestic violence commonly takes place in domestic or family relationships and in most cases involves violence by a male toward a female partner or ex-partner.

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Family Violence.


Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities prefer the term ‘family violence’ instead of domestic violence. ‘Family’ covers a diverse range of domestic relationships. Perpetrators and victims can include, for example aunts, uncles, cousins and children of previous relationships.

In the vast majority of DPP matters the offender is a male and the victim is female. However, the DPP also prosecutes domestic and family violence matters for same sex sexual partners, transgender relationships, violence amongst family members, such as siblings, parent and child violence either way, carer relationships and by women against male partners.

Domestic and Family Violence can take on many different forms including

  • Intimidation
  • Isolation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Spiritual abuse
  • Control

It is an abuse of POWER within a relationship or after separation.

There are a number of charges that arise from Domestic and Family Violence. The obvious charges are:

  • Assault and Aggravated Assaults
  • Attempted Murder
  • Cause Harm and Cause Serious Harm (and With Intent)
  • Acts likely to Endanger Life
  • Threats to Kill
  • Aggravated Serious Criminal Trespass
  • Rape and Indecent assault (and attempted)
  • Breaching Intervention Orders or Bail conditions
  • Property Damage
  • False Imprisonment

For victims and children escaping domestic and family violence giving evidence can be a fearful and difficult process due to the close proximity to the accused, the trauma resulting from the offences and the formality of the courts. There are provisions available for vulnerable victims and witnesses intended to make giving evidence in court more comfortable.

These provisions can include giving evidence from a separate room via Closed Circuit Television and having a support person. Please refer to the topic Vulnerable Witness Provisions (link) for more information on the provisions available and the process for applying.

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Withdrawing the Charges.


For victims of domestic and family violence is common for victims to change their minds about proceeding with charges against the accused. The complex nature of domestic and family violence can often create feelings of confusion, particularly if the accused is a loved one and / or a parent of children from the relationship. However, there are number of obligations that the ODPP must meet when they have conduct of a matter. It is also important for victims of Domestic and Family Violence, who want to withdraw charges, to know that they are required to meet with the Solicitor, Investigating Officer and WAO to discuss this decision and to learn about the process surrounding the decision to proceed or not.

At this meeting, victims of domestic and family violence can expect a discussion about some or all of the following topics;

  • The role of the DPP, its obligations to victims and the public and the processes it follows.
  • The offences and charges associated with that.
  • Reading the statement and answering some questions to ensure its accuracy.
  • A detailed conversation about the legal process and Vulnerable Witness Provisions and other supports available at trial
  • The reasons for the victim wanting to drop the charges and any concerns they may have about the process.
  • Any previous incidents of domestic or family violence with this accused, previous risk assessments and risk and safety reports.
  • Children’s safety: children’s exposure to the violence, the effect of this, strategies to protect the children from violence and our obligation to notify concerns.
  • A current risk assessment
  • Intervention Orders and Safety Planning
  • Referral to counselling and supports
  • Referral to the Family Safety Framework if your risk assessment comes back as High.

As a victim of Domestic and Family Violence it is helpful to have Counselling and Support in place throughout the legal process, in particular before, during and after giving evidence at Trial. The legal process and giving evidence can be stressful. Good support assists victims to increase their wellbeing and cope better with the court and legal process.

For phone numbers for counselling services please refer to our page on Referral and Support Services.

If you or your children are currently unsafe please call:

Domestic Violence and Aboriginal Family Violence Gateway Service Phone 1800 800 098, 24 hours Support for people experiencing family violence and their children

Police: Phone 000 for emergencies

In the metropolitan area contact your local Family Violence Investigation Section:

Adelaide Phone 8172 5890
Elizabeth Phone 8207 9381
Holden Hill Phone 8207 6150
Port Adelaide Phone 8207 6413
South Coast Phone 8392 9172
Sturt Phone 8207 4801

In country areas, contact your local police station.

Child Report Line Phone
131 478, 24 hours

Crisis care
13 16 11

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