One must know how to file a restraining order in Australia because family violence affects millions of Australians, regardless of their age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. It is a cycle of abuse that can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial, and it can have devastating consequences for victims and their families.
A restraining order can be obtained through one of two channels:
- Family Violence Intervention Order is typically appropriate if you want to request an order against a relative, current or former partner.
- A Personal Safety Intervention Order: This option can be used to offer protection from a person who is not a relative or family member.
Read on to learn more about restraining orders for domestic and personal violence.
Restraining Orders in Australia
A restraining order, more generally known as a “family violence order” in Australia, is an order issued by the Court to protect a person from family violence. The order has various names in different states:
- Australian Capital Territory: Family Violence Order
- New South Wales: Apprehended Domestic Violence Order
- Northern Territory: Domestic Violence Orders
- Queensland: Domestic Violence Orders
- South Australia: Intervention Orders
- Tasmania: Family Violence Orders
- Victoria: Intervention Orders
- Western Australia: Family Violence Restraining Orders.
Family violence orders have different titles in each state and territory, but the procedures are the similar, and if necessary, family violence orders made in one state or territory can be registered for enforcement in another.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT): Family Violence Order
How to file a restraining order in the ACT? All you have to do is follow these five steps:
- Fill up this application form.
- Provide a private and confidential form for the police.
- Include a notice of address for service.
- Lodge these forms at the ACT Magistrates Court, Knowles Place, Canberra.
- Go to the counter when you arrive at the ACT Magistrates Court. After submitting your application papers, a date for a preliminary conference will be provided to you when you submit your application.
New South Wales (NSW): Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)
How to file a restraining order in NSW? The following people can make an application:
- the police on your behalf (police application)
- a guardian appointed under a guardianship order
- you personally (private application).
For a police application, they will evaluate whether any of these reasons exist:
- a domestic violence offence has been, is being, or will be committed against you
- the defendant has recently, is currently, or will likely stalk or intimidate you with the intention of causing you to fear physical or mental harm
- an offence against a child or young person has been, is being, or will be committed
- there are proceedings against the defendant for any of the above offences.
If the police decides not to apply on your behalf, they must indicate in writing the reason for doing so. Now, this leads you to filing an application on your own.
In a private application, you need to contact the Local Court. In NSW, some courts may have a special Apprehended AVO kit or a form you can fill out to apply for an AVO. At other courts, you must make an appointment with the Registrar who will help you apply for an AVO. To clarify your next plan of action, you should call or go to your nearest Local Court to find out what you need to do.
Victoria: Violence Intervention Order
How to file a restraining order in Victoria? Similar to NSW, the police may also file an application on your behalf. You can also apply personally by:
- Making your complaint under oath or affidavit.
- Filling out this application form.
- Submitting your application at the Magistrates Court.
Queensland: Domestic Violence Orders
How to file a restraining order in Queensland? In QLD, these are called ‘domestic violence orders.’ To apply:
- Complete the online application.
- Sign the form as a statutory declaration, which is witnessed by a Justice of the Peace (JP), Commissioner for Declarations (Cdec), or a lawyer.
- Lodge the application and all its attachments at the Magistrates court.
South Australia: Intervention Orders
How to file a restraining order in South Australia? The police may issue these orders aside from the courts. For police interim intervention orders, the police will assess your situation and if they deem it necessary due to risk and imminent danger upon you or your child, they will issue an order.
When you have been the victim of behaviour that constitutes a criminal offence or the threat of one, you may file an application for a court-issued intervention order at your neighbourhood police station. The police may invite you to submit a private application to the court if no evidence of illegal behaviour is present, and they will help you comprehend the procedure. You must:
- Make a statement of your circumstances relating to the application.
- Wait for the assessment of the police prosecutor. The officer will ask the court for an order.
- After the issuance of the order, the police will serve the order on the defendant.
Tasmania: Family Violence Order (FVO)
How to file a restraining order in Tasmania? Here, the police may also apply on your behalf. However, if you opt to file an FVO personally, here’s what you must do:
- Fill in an Application for Family Violence Order (DOCX, 55.7 KB).
- Reproduce the form in 5 copies and submit it to the nearest Magistrates Court Registry. No filing fees apply to Family Violence Order applications.
There will be hearings to give the respondent the opportunity to express whether they give their consent or they contest the application. If they contest it, the Magistrate may list the matter for mediation before the final hearing.
Northern Territory: Domestic Violence Orders
How to file a restraining order in the Northern Territory? In this state, you can ask the help of the police if you’re in a risky situation. Thus:
- If you’re in immediate danger, call the police on 000.
- The police will make an order without having to apply to court.
These are the steps on how to apply for a DVO:
- Apply to the Local Court in writing, stating why someone will commit domestic violence against you and provide situations of violence that have occurred.
- Complete any of these:
- if you are over 18 years old – application for a domestic violence.
- if you are between 15 and 18 years old – application for a domestic violence order by a young person.
- Submit your application to the criminal registry at the Local Court.
Western Australia: Family Violence Restraining Orders
How to file a restraining order in Western Australia? In WA, you can apply in person or online. For online, you’ll need an approved legal service provider. There is a text box where you can specifically outline the supporting documentation for your application when submitting it online.
The authorised legal service provider will ask you to certify that the data you included in your application is accurate. Once your application has become an affidavit, you can use it in court to support your case for why the judge should issue an FVRO. Here’s a checklist for your reference.
Seek Legal Advice from a Family Lawyer
If you are experiencing family violence, it is important to seek legal advice from a family lawyer. A family lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, and they can assist you with the process of filing a family violence order (FVO). At a court hearing, a magistrate will ask for evidence that supports your restraining order application.
Family lawyers at JB Solicitors have specialised knowledge and experience in dealing with family violence matters. We can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information about the law and help you understand your options as a protected person.
Contact us if you need help lodging a family violence restraining order.