Late 2016, I wrote a blog post warning of the dangers of using social media to attack your ex and the impact that it could have on your family law custody and parenting case. I also warned of the possibility of domestic violence consequences for using social media in that way. This was following on from a publication in Australasian Lawyer earlier in the year.

In January 2017 a man was convicted of breaching a domestic violence order by sending 1842 text messages to his former partner.

The Townsville Bulletin reported as follows:

“A single father contravened a domestic violence order by sending 1842 text messages to his ex-wife over four months.

The 27-year-old man pleaded guilty in Townsville Magistrates Court yesterday to 39 breaches of the DVO.

There is, of course, more to the story than this…

The Prosecutor said there were no threats in the text messages. However, there was harassment and intimidation.

The Magistrate said most of the text messages had been “fairly innocuous”. The Mother had left the children with the Father and some of the messages had involved asking the woman for money and assistance with the children. However, the Magistrate was satisfied that there had been harassment. The man also chose to plead guilty.

You do not have to make threats to be in breach of a domestic violence order. Frequently orders include provision that you cannot contact the other person. As such, sending text messages would constitute a breach of the order.

The fact that the charges were brought shows that, at least in this case, the Queensland Police were prepared to prosecute.

Domestic and family violence is a serious issue in Australia, for men, women and children.

The definition of Domestic Violence in Queensland is as follows:

Domestic violence means behaviour by a person (the first person) towards another person (the second person) with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that—

(a) is physically or sexually abusive; or

(b) is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or

(c) is economically abusive; or

(d) is threatening; or

(e) is coercive; or

(f) in any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for the second person’s safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), domestic violence includes the following behaviour—

(a) causing personal injury to a person or threatening to do so;

(b) coercing a person to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so;

(c) damaging a person’s property or threatening to do so;

(d) depriving a person of the person’s liberty or threatening to do so;

(e) threatening a person with the death or injury of the person, a child of the person, or someone else;

(f) threatening to commit suicide or self-harm so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the behaviour is directed;

(g) causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the person to whom the behaviour is directed, so as to control, dominate or coerce the person;

(h) unauthorised surveillance of a person;

(i) unlawfully stalking a person.

If you are a Queenslander in need of assistance or information in relation to domestic or family violence, contact DV Connect Women’s line or DVConnect Men’s Line or in an emergency 000.

If you are need legal advice in relation to applying for or responding to an application for a domestic violence order, contact us for a fixed fee consultation.