Legal advice and going to court

Legal advice and going to court

Domestic violence



'Never think you're alone'

In the video, Tidda's Marumal: A Time to Heal, Take my Hand, Redfern Legal Centre's specialist domestic violence worker, Charmaigne Weldon talks about help that is available for women and children dealing with family and domestic violence.

Looking back, she says: "I wish I knew all those services were available when I was experiencing domestic violence. I did it solely. It was hard. I had nobody to talk to."

Her message is: "Access those services, don't fear them. You're not alone. Never think you're alone."

The video was funded by the City of Sydney.

Help in court

The Sydney Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service helps women and children get legal protection from domestic violence.

The service is run by the Redfern Legal Centre and is based at the Downing Centre, Newtown and Waverley local courts:

02 9287 7505 or 0447 174 698
(Monday to Friday: 9am–4.30pm)

More legal advocacy and representation

Going to court and what to expect

The first date is called a ‘mention’ and any one of the following things may happen:

  • A final apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) may be made, if the defendant consents – this is effective immediately.
  • A final ADVO may be granted as long as the defendant was served their notice – this is enforceable once the police have served the final ADVO to the defendant.
  • The matter may be ‘adjourned’ (put off until another date) for further mention if the defendant was not served their notice.
  • The matter may go to a ‘hearing’ if the defendant disagrees with the ADVO application – you can ask for an interim protection order to be made until the date of that hearing.

At a hearing, the magistrate will hear evidence from you and from the defendant. You may be required to attend court on more than 1 occasion. The magistrate will decide if you hold a reasonable fear of further violence and either grant an ADVO or dismiss the application.

If it is dismissed, you can appeal to the District Court within 28 days to have the matter revisited.

Local courts in the City of Sydney

Downing Centre Local Court
143–147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
(corner of Liverpool and Elizabeth streets)

Newtown Local Court
222 Australia Street, Newtown

Waverley Local Court
151 Bronte Road, Waverley

1300 679 272
(Monday to Friday: 8.30am–5pm)

Victims rights

Under the charter of victims rights adopted by the NSW government, those who survive domestic and family violence can expect to:

  • be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect
  • be informed at the earliest practical opportunity, by relevant agencies and officials, of the services and legal rights available to you
  • have access to available welfare, health, counselling and legal assistance
  • be informed, on request, of the progress of the investigation
  • be advised of charges laid or given reasons for charges not being laid against the accused
  • be advised if a charge is withdrawn
  • be protected from unnecessary contact with the accused person during the court proceedings
  • have the need for protection placed before any bail authority
  • have, in most cases, residential addresses and telephone numbers withheld
  • be advised of any special bail conditions designed to protect the victim or their family
  • be relieved from appearing at preliminary hearings or committal hearings unless the court directs otherwise
  • have, in cases of sexual assault or other personal violence, the prosecutor make known to the court the full effect of the crime upon the victim
  • receive information on request about the impending release of the offender from custody
  • be provided with an opportunity to make a submission against the potential parole of a serious offender
  • make a claim under a statutory scheme for victims compensation. 

Visit NSW Department of Justice for more information on victims rights.

Last updated: Wednesday, 20 July 2016