Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Parents take out protection order against son

The Brisbane Times is reporting that parents of a 35 year old man were assaulted by him after they took out a protection order against him to evict him from his home.

Thankfully, he spent over 3 months in jail, and Magistrate Athol Kennedy gave another 2 year protection order against him and told him that if he breached it again back inside he would go.

Abuse of parents is all too common. In Queensland at least, the legal remedies are pretty straightforward when the "child" is over 18- get a protection order.

It is much more difficult for parents when the children are under 18 because in Queensland, at least, there are no legal remedies under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act, but there is one little used remedy, which I have used a couple of times: a warrant under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act. The benefit of a warrant is that the perpetrator is taken into custody- and overnight in the watchhouse is never fun for those unfamiliar with it, and hopefully a salutary lesson not to repeat the bad behaviour.

Now I don't know what happened to these parents after they obtained their order, but it is a clear illustration that something went wrong. When there is domestic violence, remember:
- safety first, safety always
-undertake a risk assessment first
-have a safety plan
- NEVER NEVER NEVER rely on a protection order alone- ALWAYS make sure it is part of a holistic approach.

A couple of years ago I had to obtain an urgent protection order on behalf of a mother against her violent, lazy, paranoid, drug induced son. Her worries were:
- how I do get him out of the house without fear of his coming back, and without his assaulting me in the process?
-If I throw him out of the house, I hope he will be safe and won't do something rash to himself- i am still his mother and love him and worry about hi, despite his faults.

I couldn't deal with the second worry- only the first. This is what we did:
1. Got an urgent ex parte order.
2. Lined up the local police in advance to let them know that there was a chance of the order being made that afternoon and needed IMMEDIATE police help.
3.Got the order faxed immediately after court to the police, while my client drove to the police station.
4. I phoned the police station to tell them about the order, how urgent it was and risks to my client and to ensure no mucking about.
5. Within the hour of the order being made, boys and girls in blue turned up at the home, order in hand and chucked him out.
6. My client then changed the locks and put extra security in place.
7. Son did not misbehave and did not challenge the order, which then became a final order.

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