Family Violence Restraining Orders (FVRO)
It is also possible to apply for a FVRO protecting only a child/ren in the Children’s Court.
What is Family Violence?
- violence, or a threat of violence, by someone towards a family member, and/or.
- any other behaviour that coerces or controls another family member or causes them to be fearful.
Family Violence is not just physical violence. Family violence includes physical, financial, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, and even includes hurting a person’s pet.
Who is Included as a Family Member?
The definition of family member is broad and covers current and former:
- spouses, siblings, children, parents, grandparents and step-family relationships, as well as other relatives, and
- members of intimate or family-type relationships.
It also covers the former spouse or former de facto partner of the person who wants to be protected current spouse or current de facto partner.
When Can The Court Make a FVRO?
The court can make an FVRO against another family member (called the respondent) to protect you from family violence if:
- the respondent has committed family violence against you and is likely to commit family violence against you in the future, or
- you (or a person who applies for the FVRO for you) have good reasons to fear that the respondent will commit family violence against you.
If the court is satisfied of either of those two things, it must make an FVRO against the respondent, unless there are special circumstances that mean making the FVRO is inappropriate.
The court can also extend an FVRO for the benefit of children, to help protect them from being exposed to family violence by the respondent. A child is exposed to family violence if they see, hear or experience the effects of family violence.
We suggest that you seek legal advice from Maude Family Lawyers before you apply for an FVRO.
What Restrictions Can Be Included In a FVRO?
An FVRO can have conditions to stop the respondent from doing certain things that they normally would be allowed to do, such as:
- coming to or near where you live or work
- being at or near a certain place
- coming within a certain distance of you
- contacting or trying to communicate with you in any way.
If the respondent breaches any of those restrictions and is found guilty, they have committed a criminal offence.
There are severe ramifications if a person is found guilty of a breach which include either a prison sentence and/or a fine depending on the number of breaches a person is convicted of. A FVRO is a civil document, however a guilty breach is a criminal offence.
The court can include a condition that the respondent has one opportunity to collect their personal items from somewhere they used to live or work (usually with a police officer).
The restrictions in the FVRO can be shaped to suit your situation.
What if I already have a current domestic violence order from another state or territory?
Restraining orders relating to family violence (sometimes called domestic violence) can now be nationally recognised and enforced by police and the courts anywhere in Australia. An existing (current) family violence order will automatically apply across Australia if it:
- was made on or after 25 November 2017 (in any Australian state or territory, including WA)
- was made or varied in a Victorian court (on any date), or
- was made in New Zealand and registered in Victoria (on any date).
If your existing order is not automatically enforceable in WA, you can apply for national recognition. This may be simpler, quicker and safer than applying for a new FVRO.
You should seek legal advice to see if you need to apply for national recognition.
What if the other person already has criminal charges relating to me?
In this situation, you will probably already have protective bail conditions similar to an FVRO, so there may be no need to make a separate FVRO application. If the other person is convicted or pleads guilty, if you tell the police or court you want an FVRO, a final FVRO is usually automatically granted, without you having to have make a separate FVRO application.
Applying to a court for a Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) may be a new experience for you.
The court will usually hear your application as soon as possible. When you fill in the application, you have the option of having the first hearing without the person you want the order against (the respondent) being told about the application.
The first hearing happens in a ‘closed court’, which means members of the public are not allowed in the court room. The court can allow an approved support person to come in with you during the hearing.
At the first hearing, court can make an interim FVRO, which is a temporary order put in place while the court considers making a final FVRO. The court won’t make a final order until after the respondent has been told about the application and has the chance to come to court. The interim FVRO will continue to be in place until final orders are made.
If you are the person bound by the FVRO, then you have a limited time to object to the Order.
If you decide to object then your matter will be listed for a further hearing that may either be a directions hearing or straight to a final hearing, which is a trial and both parties are cross examined on their evidence, the presiding judicial officer will make a decision based on the balance of probabilities on the allegations in the person who sought the Order.
If you require representation for either applying or objecting to a FVRO, call our lawyers at Maude Family Lawyers, who have extensive experience in representing clients in both the Central and Regional Magistrates Court.
Violence Restraining Order (VRO)
You can apply to the court for a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) against someone who is not a family member if you need protection because of the risk of personal violence. The court can also make a VRO to protect children from being exposed to personal violence.
A VRO makes it unlawful for a person to do certain things, in order to try and stop them from committing acts of personal violence or exposing a child to personal violence.
What is Personal Violence?
Personal violence means:
- assaulting you or causing you injury;
- kidnapping you or depriving you of your liberty;
- threatening to do any of those things above; and/or
- stalking you.
When can the court make a VRO?
The court can make a VRO against the respondent to protect you if:
- the respondent has committed personal violence against you and is likely to commit personal violence against you in the future, or
- you (or the person who applied for an order for you) have good reasons to think that the respondent will commit personal violence against you.
If the court is satisfied of either of those two things, it can only make a VRO if:
- you are not in a family relationship with the respondent, and
- having taken into account a range of factors, it is appropriate in the circumstances to make a VRO.
The court can make an VRO to help protect a child from being exposed to personal violence. A child is exposed to violence if they see, hear or experience its effects.
If you are in a family relationship with the respondent, you may be able to apply for an FVRO against them.