FAMILY VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWYERS– RINGWOOD/MAROONDAH
Family violence and sexual assault are a growing concern in the Ringwood/Maroondah area. Statistics show that in 2013/14 family violence increased by 9% from the previous year, with 1137 reports recorded by Victoria Police in the Eastern suburbs. Close to 300 of these reported instances were in the Ringwood/Maroondah area.
The types of violence reported in the recorded offences are not limited to purely physical abuse. Verbal abuse constitutes a large proportion of family violence, including threats to kill, physical threats, and intimidating and aggressive behaviour.
While women make up the majority of victims, men too can experience family violence. According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 19 men have experienced physical or sexual abuse by a partner or family member. Women do however experience the majority of domestic abuse, with 1 in 6 women reporting physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Statistics compiled by Victoria Police show there were nearly 2,500 recorded sexual offences arising from domestic incidents in 2013/14. The number of child victims went up 3% in that period.
Statistics show that physical and sexual assault of women, children and men has risen over the last financial year in the Ringwood/Maroondah area. These offences often occur as breaches of family violence intervention orders (FVIOs) and constitute a separate criminal offence.
It is important to note however, that not all abuse constitutes criminal abuse. Physical and sexual assault, as well as verbal threats and intimidation, are punishable under the criminal law. Other acts such as bullying, oppressive and degrading behaviour are not outlawed by the Crimes Act, and any psychological injuries are only actionable in civil proceedings.
If you have been charged with physical or sexual assault, or breaching a FVIO, contact one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers immediately to assist you in your matter. With offices located throughout Melbourne’s east, including lawyers in Ringwood and the city of Maroondah, you can make an appointment to speak with one of our solicitors at a time and location convenient for you.
Assault in the home occurs more often than assault in non-residential areas. Of the 46,912 assaults that occurred in 2013/14 in Victoria, 51.5% occurred in domestic residences. This is an increase of 2.6% from the previous year. Statistics show that the increase in the Ringwood/Maroondah area is even higher than that, with an increase of 18%.
45.7% of the 46,912 recorded assaults in Victoria in 2013/14 were family related – a huge increase from the 15% recorded in 2004. This is largely attributed to the Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence introduced by Victoria Police at that time. This has improved police responses to family violence incidents, but does not necessarily explain an increase in reporting.
It is suggested that education in the form of anti-assault campaigns (the ‘No Means No’ and ‘Violence Against Women, Australia Says No’ advertisements, for example) has increased the reporting of domestic abuse. Whatever the cause, statistics show a major increase in reporting over the past decade. The trend is clearly evident in the Ringwood/Maroondah area.
Physical assaults, verbal threats, and intimidating behaviour such as brandishing weapons are all offences punishable under the Crimes Act. If you have been charged with assault, you may be facing an indictable offence and possible imprisonment. A conviction can also mean you may lose your job and find it extremely difficult to obtain employment in the future.
An experienced criminal lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome in court, with the benefit of staying out of prison and keeping a clean record. If you have been charged with assault, contact one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers immediately.
Some assaults can lead to sexual assaults. You may be charged with assault, and then may also be charged for indecent assault. These charges carry even greater penalties than assault as they are typically of an aggravated and particularly serious nature.
Under section 39 of the Crimes Act, a person commits indecent assault if he or she assaults another person in indecent circumstances. Indecent assault does not include rape, however under section 40 of the Crimes Act a person may be charged with assault with an intention to rape. Both of these charges carry heavy penalties, with the possibility of 10 years maximum imprisonment if found guilty.
Domestic sexual abuse is taken very seriously by the courts. This is because victims are often seen as especially helpless in circumstances where they feel they cannot leave the family home under threat of further abuse. Child victims are especially vulnerable in these situations, as well as women. But as mentioned, men too can be the victims of physical and sexual assault.
Indecent assault is an indictable offence and is taken very seriously by the courts. If you have been charged with indecent assault, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible in order to prepare thoroughly for court. Court proceedings may even be avoided in certain circumstances if police prosecutors are open to diversion. A professional criminal solicitor can apply for diversion on your behalf, and you may be penalised in the form of community service or a fine instead of prison time.
There are defences a criminal lawyer can raise in response to a charge of assault or indecent assault.
For an assault charge, you may be able to raise defences of consent or self-defence. Consent must be mutual, but even so, consent may not be a valid defence where injuries are serious. Self-defence also encompasses necessary evidentiary burdens, and an experienced criminal lawyer can raise issues with the way evidence has been acquired and handled.
The defence of consent may also be raised for charges of indecent assault. This defence is similarly limited, and is only applicable where actual consent has been given. Because indecent assault is regarded as assault in ‘indecent circumstances’ it must be shown that the assault was in fact indecent. This is a difficult area of the criminal law, and a professional defence lawyer may be able to argue that an assault did not take place in indecent circumstances.
If you have been charged, or think you may be charged, with assault or indecent assault arising out of a domestic dispute, contact one of our specialised criminal defence lawyers immediately. With years of experience focusing exclusively on criminal law, you will have the best possible representation for your matter. A good criminal defence lawyer can help you avoid conviction, imprisonment and unnecessarily onerous fines.
It is important that you do not leave your matter to the last minute. Where possible, a defence lawyer can help you avoid a trial where diversion is available. The more time your lawyer has to prepare for your matter, the greater the probability that you receive a favourable outcome in court.
Contact one of our experienced criminal lawyers and arrange an appointment at a time and place suited to you. With offices throughout the Eastern suburbs, and representation in the Ringwood/Maroondah area, access to one of our criminal defence lawyers has never been easier.