“Can I talk to my partner if I have a DVO against them?”

You can, but by doing so there is a good chance you are setting up your partner to breach the DVO.

A protection order, also known as a domestic violence order (or DVO for short), is an order made by a magistrate to protect someone from domestic violence.  In the order, the person being protected is called the “Aggrieved” and the person affected by the order is called the “Respondent”.

Every DVO must have at least one condition (often called the “Standard Condition”) that the Respondent must behave and must not commit domestic violence.  Depending on the circumstances, the magistrate may add other conditions that they consider appropriate to protect the Aggrieved.  One of the most common conditions is “the Respondent may not contact the Aggrieved”.

DVOs are not usually long or complicated, so restrictions are usually very wide.  If a condition of the DVO is that the Respondent does not contact the Aggrieved, the Respondent cannot have any contact with the Aggrieved.  No phone calls, no emails, no texts, no messages, no letters, no live chat, no posted videos, no comments – nothing.  If the Aggrieved contacts with the Respondent in any way whatsoever, the Aggrieved will breach the DVO, and that is a criminal offence.

The restriction on contacting Aggrieved includes replying to the Aggrieved.  If the Aggrieved sends the Respondent a text and the Respondent replies: the Respondent has breached the DVO.  If the Aggrieved phones the Respondent and the Respondent has a conversation with the Aggrieved: the Respondent has breached the DVO.  If the Aggrieved posts something on the Respondent’s Facebook page and the Respondent replies to that post: the Respondent has breached the DVO.

It does not matter who starts the contact, any communication from the Respondent to the Aggrieved breaches the DVO.  It does not matter why the Respondent contacts the Aggrieved, any communication from the Respondent to the Aggrieved breaches the DVO.

Rarely, the magistrate may grant a limited exception (usually to allow an Aggrieved and Respondent to talk about any children they have together).  If a DVO clearly says the Respondent may contact the Aggrieved to discuss a specific issue, then the Respondent would not breach the DVO by talking to the Aggrieved about that issue only.  If the DVO does not explicitly describe an exception, then there is no exception.

Every situation is different.  This article is only general information and you cannot rely on it.  We are not responsible for any negative consequences you or your partner may suffer if you talk to them.

If you have a DVO against your partner and you want to talk to your partner, you should speak to a lawyer about the DVO to make sure the talking does not end up with your partner being charged with a criminal offence (or some other harmful result). 

Madsen Law has extensive experience with DVOs and we would be happy to make an appointment to discuss your DVO. Give us a call or contact us via our website to see how we can help you.

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