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Family Violence Restraining Order

A family violence restraining order is intended to restrain a person who:

  • has committed family violence against you and is likely to commit family violence against you again or
  • behaves in a way that makes you believe that family violence will be committed in the future.

‘Family violence’ means violence, or a threat of violence, by a person towards a family member of the person; or any other behaviour by the person that coerces or controls the family member or causes the member to be fearful. Examples include:

  • assault
  • sexual assault
  • stalking or cyber-stalking
  • repeated derogatory remarks
  • damaging or destroying property
  • causing death or injury to an animal
  • unreasonably denying the family member the financial autonomy that the member would otherwise have had
  • unreasonably withholding financial support needed to meet reasonable living expenses
  • preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with the member’s family, friends and culture
  • kidnapping, or deprivation of liberty
  • distributing or publishing, or threatening to distribute or publish, intimate personal images of the family member or
  • causing any family member who is a child to be exposed to family violence.

If you have already been attacked or threatened with violence, a criminal offence may also have been committed. You should tell the police and ask for an offence report number.

Under special circumstances, a family violence restraining order can be sought by the police on your behalf by telephone, at any time, any day. Your first action in an urgent situation should be to call the police. If considered appropriate, the police will then seek an urgent telephone hearing with a magistrate.

Life-long restraining orders can also be granted in extreme cases.

There is no fee payable when you apply for a family violence restraining order.

When a family violence restraining order is made, the court or magistrate will also make an order prohibiting the respondent from having a firearm licence or any guns. It is therefore essential that you inform the police or court if you are aware that the respondent has access to a gun. Consent is not a defence to breaching a family violence restraining order. Even if the victim says it's okay to get together, it is considered a breach of the order and may lead to time in prison. 


Last updated: 3-Jul-2017

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