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The Court will usually ask the applicant to present their case first. This will either be the police if they made the application on your behalf, or you if you made the application.
The Court may allow you time to:
If the Court doesn't allow you time to do this, they will simply direct you to enter the witness box and start with your evidence.
You may have to stand next to the witness box and make an:
Both are promises to tell the truth.
The court officer will read the oath or affirmation and you should respond 'I do'.
Your evidence is called evidence in chief.
Police can take your victim statement by video or audio recording and use this recording as all or part of your evidence in chief. This recording is called the Domestic Violence Evidence in Chief (DVEC) recording.
If the police use the DVEC as your evidence in chief, they don’t need to get your consent (permission) to play the recording at court.
When you give evidence, or when the DVEC is played, the Court must be closed and everyone not involved in the case will have to leave the courtroom. You may also be able to give evidence in other ways such as by audio visual link (AVL) or from another room. These options do not apply to proceedings that commenced before 25 November 2020.
If the defendant is represented, the defendant's lawyer will cross-examine you.
From 1 September 2021, if it is a domestic violence criminal matter or related apprehended violence order proceedings where the Defendant is self-represented, the Defendant is not allowed to directly ask you questions about your evidence in court. In this situation, the Court will appoint a suitable person to ask the questions on behalf of the Defendant. Court appointed questioners are court staff.
The Court may also hear oral evidence if it gives leave (permission).
During cross-examination, you should:
If there are any issues you want to clear up that are raised in the cross-examination you may be able to give further evidence later. This is called re-examination.
You may get a chance to tell the Court your version of what has happened, and why you believe you need the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), but only if the Court gives you leave (permission).
You can only give evidence about what you saw or what was said to you directly. The Court may ask you questions or ask you to explain some things in more detail. The Court may also ask you to move on to another point if they feel you have said enough about a certain issue or you are speaking about something that is not relevant to the case.
Although your witnesses may have prepared witness statements before the hearing, those witnesses will still have to come to court so that the defendant can cross-examine them.
A court officer will bring your witness into the courtroom and take them to the witness box where they will make an oath or affirmation.
After the cross-examination, you may have a chance to ask the witnesses any further questions. This is called 're-examination'. You should only re-examine your witness if you want to clear up issues raised in the cross-examination.
After you and your witnesses have given their evidence, you or your solicitor will then be able to cross-examine the defendant and the defendant's witnesses. If the police applied for the AVO on your behalf, the police prosecutor will cross-examine the defendant and the defendant's witnesses.
When asking the defendant's witnesses questions, you should:
It is important that you don't interrupt the defendant or the witnesses when it is their turn to speak. If they are not answering your questions you can ask the Court to direct them to do so. You can also make some notes of anything you want to comment on or clarify, and put it to them when they finish answering.
Don't speak rudely or abusively about the defendant or the witnesses. Stick to the facts and the evidence and be calm and polite.
Sometimes, when there is a lot of evidence or are many witnesses, the Court won't be able to finish the hearing in one day. If this happens, the Court will have to adjourn the hearing until the rest of the evidence can be heard. Depending on the next available hearing date, the adjournment may be for a few weeks or for a few months.
The Court will give you and the defendant instructions on when to come back to court and who should come to court on that day. In some cases, your witnesses and the defendant's witnesses will all have to come back to court for the rest of the hearing.
If the hearing is adjourned, you can ask the Court to make an Interim AVO to protect you until the day of the hearing.
If the Court has heard all the evidence, it may make a decision.
Step by step guide: Presenting your case at the hearing