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If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Giving evidence in family violence matters

Information about giving evidence.

Rules of evidence may not apply

The court does not have to follow the rules of evidence. It may inform itself in any way it sees fit. This means, for example, that hearsay evidence is admissible.

Evidence may be given by affidavit or by sworn statement. If evidence is given by affidavit, a party may require that person to attend court to be cross-examined.

The court may also forbid indecent or scandalous questions.

Cross-examination of protected witnesses

With few exceptions the respondent is not allowed to cross-examine a protected witness during a family violence intervention order hearing.

See Protected witnesses.

Children

Children must not give evidence unless the court gives leave (permission). Before giving leave the court must consider potential harm to family relationships and the desirability of protecting children from court proceedings.

Children who are not the applicant or the respondent must have the leave of the court before being represented in proceedings. Before giving leave the court must consider potential harm to family relationships and the desirability of protecting children from court proceedings.

Hearings may relate to more than one application

The court may hear any number of applications for family violence intervention orders in one hearing if it thinks fit.

Applications made by guardians

If an application has been made by a guardian, the affected family member must be heard separately if they object to the application.

Expert evidence about family violence

Evidence can be admitted from experts about family violence, including:

  • the general nature and dynamics of relationships affected by family violence, including consequences of separation
  • the psychological effect of family violence
  • the social, cultural and economic factors which impact on a person in a relationship involving family violence.

Safety notices as evidence

A certified safety notice may be used as evidence for an interim order if the court believes that it is in the interests of justice for this to happen.

See Interim orders.

More information

Legislation

Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

  • s. 62—legal representation of a child who is not applicant or respondent
  • s. 63—hearing may relate to more than one application
  • s. 64—affected family member to be heard separately if application made by guardian
  • s. 65—evidence
  • s. 66—evidence may be given by affidavit or sworn statement
  • s. 67—evidence given by children
  • s. 68—court may close proceeding to public
  • s. 73—expert evidence about family violence

See Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated