Do you need to find out how to get a family violence restraining order? It’s a sad reality that when some couples split, a family violence restraining order is put in place to protect one spouse from the other.
Our team of VRO lawyers in Perth have put together a guide to family violence restraining orders and how to get a family violence restraining order, should you need one.
What Is A Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO)?
A Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) is an order issued by the Court, protecting a person from any form of violence and abuse or behaviour that is intimidating or offensive, committed by a family member, partner, ex-partner or relative.
It prohibits that person from coming near you or on your property and failure to adhere to the terms of the order may result in criminal charges with serious penalties being imposed, including imprisonment. It also automatically prohibits them from owning a firearm or applying for a firearm licence.
Family violence comes in numerous forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, financial and emotional abuse, or any threat that may cause one to fear for their safety. It also includes stalking, cyber-stalking, damaging property, deliberately injuring an animal belonging to a family member, making repeated derogatory remarks, or committing any offensive act that may have a psychological effect on an adult or child.
If a person has not committed the act(s) personally but instead had someone else commit them on their behalf, the law would apply as if that person has committed the act(s) themselves.
Who Can Apply For A Family Violence Restraining Order?
Anyone over the age of 16 years who has experienced any of the above forms of violence or any other abusive behaviour by a partner, ex-partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or any family member, close or distant, may apply for an FVRO.
In most cases, restraint orders are sought by spouses and ex-spouses, including those in de facto relationships.
For children under the age of 16 years, the application must be made by the appointed guardian, or a police officer who wishes to protect a child. Under certain circumstances a police officer may also apply on behalf of an adult.
How Do You Apply For A Family Violence Restraining Order?
Applications must be made by filling in and filing a simple form to your local Magistrates or Children’s Court. Application forms are available from any legal service provider, Family Court, Court registry or online by visiting www.magistratescourt.wa.gov.au
There is no fee for applying to the Magistrates Court and the application will be heard as soon as possible, in urgent circumstances sometimes even on the same day. The applicant has the option of having the first hearing without the respondent being told about the application. It takes place in a “closed court” with no members of the public present and the applicant may bring in a family member or friend as support as long as that person does not act as a witness or a party to the proceedings.
An application to the Children’s Court must be made if it’s to be against a person under 18 years. One can apply for a FVRO to protect themselves and their children, but the Court will decide whether a separate restraining order for each person will be made.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Family Violence Restraining Order?
The Court will not hand out a final restraining order until the respondent has been notified and has had the opportunity to appear in Court.
If the Court is convinced that the applicant’s safety is at risk, it can issue an interim FVRO immediately, which comes into force after it is served onto the respondent by the police and may last for six months or until the final order is made. If the respondent breaches any of the terms of the interim order, it must be reported immediately to the police.
The respondent has 21 days to respond to the interim order and if they object to the order, the Court will set a hearing date, which the applicant must attend. If the respondent consents or does not appear at the hearing, the Court will rule in their absence and the interim FVRO becomes final.
How Long Does A Family Violence Restraining Order Last?
A family violence restraining order usually lasts for up to two years for adults and up to six months for a child over the age of 10 years. One can request the Court to extend it if one can prove that it is necessary.
If the respondent is serving a prison term when the order was served, it remains in effect for a further two years after they are released from prison.
Want to find out how our VRO lawyers in Perth can help you get a family violence restraining order?
Book a free 15 minute phone consultation with our trusted team of experienced family lawyers now.