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What are Family Violence Restraining Orders?TOP
A family violence restraining order (FVRO) is an order primarily designed to protect a person from being physically and/or psychologically abused by another person. The order prevents someone who is in a close family type relationship with you (i.e. current or former partner/spouse, family member) being able to communicate with you or visit you at home or your workplace. It can also prevent that person coming within a certain number of metres to where you may be at any time.
When there is a child or children involved, there are often exceptions made to the order to enable you to communicate with your former partner. Such exceptions can include but are not limited to:
- for the purposes of arranging for them to spend time with the children;
- to attend mediation or family dispute resolution to discuss arrangements for the children and ending your financial connection with that person and;
- to otherwise be able to communicate through lawyers.
How do I get a Family Violence Restraining Order?TOP
Applications for restraining orders can be made in person or online. When you apply for a Family Violence Restraining Order, you can ask the court for an Interim FVRO. This is a temporary order than can be made and enforced while you go through the court process to get a final (longer term) FVRO.
Applications in person are made at your local Magistrates Court. You will need to fill out an application form and the Court will need to hear evidence from you as to what has happened and why you fear that this behaviour will continue. You can choose to have the first hearing without the Respondent (the person you are seeking to restrain) being advised until after your application has been heard. You can have a support person with you in court.
You may also be able to seek a restraining order in the Children’s Court if the application involves children, and you are related or involved in a child’s care.
Applications online can only be made on your behalf by organisations that are approved to do so. These include:
- Legal Aid WA
- Aboriginal Family Law Services
- Community Legal Centres
- Some private lawyers.
The Victims of Crime website contains details of organisations that are approved to assist in lodging restraining order applications online.
The Interim Family Violence Restraining Order Guide contains a lot of useful information about applying for a restraining order.
Help in the short termTOP
On some occasions Police issue what is known as a Police Order. This is a violence restraining order which may be issued by the Police usually after attending a call out to a home where one of the parties has alleged their partner/family member was physically or otherwise abusive towards them. These orders usually last for up to 72 hours. The Police normally then encourage the protected person to follow this up straight away by applying for a FVRO at the Magistrates Court.
Further information about getting legal help with domestic and family violence matters can be found on the Family Violence Law Help webpage.
Where do FVROs Apply?TOP
Every new family violence restraining order and police order is automatically recognised and enforceable across Australia. This means that if you move or visit another state, you don't have to go to court to register your order, and the order can be enforced by local police no matter where in Australia the victim and perpetrator are located.
Further information in relation to accessing legal support can be found at 3g. Accessing Legal Services.