Restraint or Protection Orders

Restraint or Protection Orders are put in place to restrict contact between people.  The name of the Order can be different depending on what state or territory you live in – click on your region below to find out more information.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

Personal Violence Restraining Order (PVRO)

A Personal Violence Restraining Order (PVRO) is a court order that may restrict contact between people or impose conditions on their behaviour. The person who applies for the restraint order is known as the Applicant and the person who is to be restrained is known as the Defendant. The Defendant in the application must be over 15 years of age.

A PVRO differs to a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) in that a PVRO can be made between any two parties – they do not have to be in an intimate relationship, or have previously been in an intimate relationship.

Before deciding on an application for a PVRO, the Magistrate may refer the parties for mediation at a Community Justice Centre. However, if there is a history of violence between the parties or a previous attempt at mediation has been unsuccessful, the Magistrate can hear the application without this occurring.

PVROs are made where a Magistrate determines that the Defendant has committed an act of personal violence against the protected person, or that there is a risk of it occurring.  In considering whether to make an order, the Magistrate must consider the safety of the protected person, the previous criminal history of the Defendant, and the previous conduct of the Defendant towards the protected person and any child affected by the personal violence.

Personal violence can include many forms of threats or harassment, such as:

  • physical violence or abuse;
  • sexual abuse;
  • psychological abuse such as humiliation and intimidation;
  • damage to property or trespass;
  • stalking;
  • provocative or offensive behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace; or
  • threats or threatening behaviour and harassment.

Many of the above types of behaviour are also offences and should be reported to the police immediately.

Urgent applications may be heard within days from when the application is lodged. In order to have an urgent hearing there must be a high level of risk and it is heard in the absence of the Defendant.

How To Apply?

You can apply for a PRVO by filling in an application form and filing it at the Magistrates Court (this will involve paying a fee).  The police also have the power to apply for a Restraint Order on behalf of someone.

A PRVO application form can be obtained online from the Magistrates Court.  The form can be filled in by the Applicant themselves or with the assistance of a solicitor, friend or support worker if the Applicant agrees.

The application must contain as much information as possible so that the magistrate can be satisfied that the person the Applicant wishes to restrain has committed the acts and that they are likely to commit them again in the future.

What Happens Next?

After you have filed your application, the Court may order that you attend a mediation conference with the other party.

A mediation conference is a forum which provides an opportunity for parties to make a genuine effort to settle their disputes with the assistance of an independent mediator who is a member of a Community Justice Centre. Reaching an agreement during the mediation conference will save the need for further court time.

In place of a PRVO, the parties may agree to an undertaking. An undertaking is a formal pledge or promise to do or stop doing something. It is not enforceable in Court, however it is like a promise to the Court and the other party.

The offending party can offer the other party a written promise as assurance, placing conditions on their behaviour. The parties may elect to have it adjourned in order to proceed with an undertaking. If an undertaking is breached, the application for a restraint order can be brought back to court. If you break that promise or undertaking the court will be unimpressed with you the next time you appear before them.

Sometimes the outcome of a conciliation conference is an agreement that an order should be made. The parties can agree to this without admitting to the contents of the application or response to the application.

If you do not come to an agreement, the application may proceed to a hearing. The magistrate will decide whether to grant an order or not and in what terms.

Conditions

There are various orders which can be made under a PVRO. These include limiting the contact between the parties, and preventing the Defendant from:

  • assaulting or threatening the Applicant;
  • stalking the Applicant;
  • acting in an offensive manner;
  • contacting or approaching the Applicant at home or work;
  • damaging property; or
  • possessing firearms.

Breaching an Order

If a person disobeys the terms of their order, this is known as a breach, or contravention. Breaching a PVRO is a criminal offence that carries significant penalties. For example, if the abuser approaches you in the street when they are not supposed to, or sends abusive text messages, they may be breaching the order.

If this happens, call the police.

ACT

Protection Orders

A Protection Order is a court order that may restrict contact between people or impose conditions on their behaviour. The person who applies for the restraint order is known as the Applicant and the person who is to be restrained is known as the Respondent.

Protection Orders provide for a fast and flexible method of obtaining legal protection from many forms of harassment and violence, which include:

  • physical abuse;
  • sexual abuse;
  • psychological abuse such as humiliation and intimidation;
  • damage to property;
  • stalking;
  • threats and harassment.

Many of the above types of behaviour are also offences and should be reported to the police immediately.

There are three types of Protection Orders:

Domestic Violence Order

Domestic Violence Orders (DVO) are to protect an Applicant who is in a domestic relationship with the Respondent.  You can find out more about DVOs here.

Personal Protection Order

Personal Protection Orders can help protect you from a person who is not in the category of people covered by a DVO, for example, a neighbour.

If you experience personal violence from such a person, you can apply for a Personal Protection Order. A person’s conduct will be considered personal violence if the person:

  • injures you or damages your property; or
  • threatens to injure you or damage your property; or
  • is harassing or offensive to you.

A Personal Protection Order can be made for a maximum period of 12 months.

Workplace Protection Order

If you experience personal violence in the workplace, you can apply for a Workplace Protection Order. A person’s conduct will be considered personal violence in the workplace if the person:

  • causes an injury or threatens to cause an injury to an employee when they are working; or
  • causes damage to property or threatens to damage property, at work in a way that causes reasonable fear in an employee; or
  • is harassing or offensive to an employee when they are working.

A Workplace Protection Order can be made for a maximum period of 12 months.

How To Apply?

You can apply for a Protection Order by filling in an application form, affidavit and information sheet, and filing it at the Magistrates Court. The police also have the power to apply for a Protection Order on behalf of a person.

All the forms needed to apply for a DVO, Personal Protection Order, or Workplace Protection Order can be obtained from the Magistrates Court website. The Magistrates Court will not let you apply for a Protection Order without a completed application form, affidavit and information sheet.

The form can be filled in by the Applicant themselves or with the assistance of a solicitor, friend or support worker if the Applicant agrees.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service Court Support Unit and the Legal Aid Domestic Violence and Personal Protection Orders Unit can help.

The application must contain as much information as possible so that the Magistrate can be satisfied that the person the Applicant wishes to restrain has committed the acts and that they are likely to commit them again in the future.

Protection Orders are generally used against people who will only stop doing the offending acts if a Court tells them to.

What Happens Next?

In place of a Personal Protection Order, the parties may agree to an undertaking. An undertaking is a formal pledge or promise to do or stop doing something. It is not enforceable in court however it is like a promise to the court and the other party.

The offending party can offer the other party a written promise as assurance, placing conditions on their behaviour. The parties may elect to have it adjourned in order to proceed with an undertaking. If an undertaking is breached, the application for a Personal Protection Order can be brought back to Court. If  that promise or undertaking is broken the Court will be unimpressed with the person breaching the undertaking the next time that person is in Court.

The parties can agree to an Order being in place without admitting to the contents of the application or response to the application.

If you do not come to an agreement, the application may proceed to a hearing. The Magistrate will decide whether to grant an Order or not and in what terms.

Conditions

There are various orders which can be made under a PVRO. These include limiting the contact between the parties, and preventing the Defendant from:

    • assaulting or threatening the Applicant;
    • stalking the Applicant;
    • acting in an offensive manner;
    • contacting or approaching the Applicant at home or work;
    • damaging property; or

possessing firearms.

Breaching an Order

If a person disobeys the terms of their order, this is known as a breach, or contravention. Breaching a Protection Order is a criminal offence that carries significant penalties. For example, if the abuser approaches you in the street when they are not supposed to, or sends abusive text messages, they may be breaching the order.

If this happens, call the police.

Western Australia

Misconduct Restraining Order (MRO)

A Misconduct Restraining Order (MRO) is an order of the Court that is designed to stop a person behaving in a way that is intimidating or offensive towards you or causes damage to your property, or to stop a person acting in a way that may lead to a breach of the peace. The order can be worded to suit your situation.

If you apply for the order you are the Applicant, and the person seeking to be protected. The person who you want the order against is the Respondent (or the person bound).

A MRO only applies to someone you are not in a family or domestic relationship with.

How To Apply?

You can apply for an MRO at any Magistrates Court.  If the Respondent is a child or young person under 18 years of age you can apply at the Children’s Court of WA.  Ask at your nearest Court or, if there is no Court in your area, ask at the nearest police station.

You can apply for a MRO if you are the person who wants protection. A guardian or a police officer may also apply for you.

If you are under 18, the police or a parent, guardian or child welfare officer (eg. a Department for Child Protection and Family Support case worker) can also apply for a MRO for you.

To get a MRO you must be able to show the court that the person you want the order against is likely to:

  • act in a way that could reasonably make you feel intimidated or offended and would in fact actually intimidate or offend you or
  • cause damage to your property or property you have with you or
  • act in a way that is, or may lead to, a breach of the peace; AND
  • the court thinks it is appropriate to make a MRO.

Before making a restraining order against a child that affects their care and wellbeing the court has to be satisfied that appropriate arrangements have been made for their care and wellbeing.

Conditions

An MRO may include conditions to stop the respondent doing whatever the court thinks is necessary. This will often depend on the circumstances of each case, but can include stopping the respondent from:

  • being on or near premises where the applicant lives or works;
  • being on or near a named building, locality or place;
  • coming within a certain distance of the applicant;
  • contacting or attempting to contact the applicant in any way, including ringing, writing to or text messaging or emailing the applicant;
  • being at a place even if they have a right to be there;
  • preventing anyone from entering or staying in a place;
  • having a gun or a gun licence or applying for a gun licence*; or
  • getting anyone else to do any of the things listed above.

*The respondent is not automatically banned from having a gun or a gun licence. The applicant must ask for this and the court has to decide if the ban is necessary in the circumstances of the case.

Police Orders

Police may make an on the spot restraining order called a Police Order in situations of family and domestic violence.  See more information here.

Violence Restraining Order (VRO)

A Violence Restraining Order (VRO) is an order of the court designed to stop threats, property damage, violence, intimidating behaviour and emotional abuse in the future. It tells the offender to stay away from you and/or to stop behaving in certain ways towards you. The order can be worded to suit your situation.

There are two types of VROs:

  • VROs against a person you are in a family or domestic relationship with (see more information here); and
  • VROs against a person you are not in a family or domestic relationship with.

To get a VRO you must be able to show the court that the respondent:

  • has committed an act of abuse and is likely again to commit an act of abuse against you, or
  • makes you reasonably fear they will commit an act of abuse against you, and
  • the court thinks it is appropriate in the circumstances to make a restraining order.

A child in a family and domestic relationship with the respondent can also apply for a VRO. The court may also choose to extend an order for a person protected in circumstances of family and domestic violence so that it also covers a child who is likely to be “exposed” to an act of abuse. “Exposed” means to see or hear an act of abuse or to see physical injuries resulting from an act of abuse.

If possible, you should get legal advice before you make your application. You can contact Legal Aid WA’s InfoLine on 1300 650 579 for more information or referral.

Breaching an Order

If a person disobeys the terms of their order, this is known as a breach, or contravention. Breaching an Order is a criminal offence that carries significant penalties. For example, if the abuser approaches you in the street when they are not supposed to, or sends abusive text messages, they may be breaching the order.

If this happens, call the police.

 

Victoria

Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO)

A Personal Safety Intervention Orders (PSIO) is an Intervention Order between people who are not family members or in a family like relationship. For example, a PSIO may be between neighbours, friends or housemates.

How To Apply?

An application for a PSIO can be made at the Magistrates Court and you can download the application form this link.

You may want to make an application for a PSIO if you are in fear for your safety, have been subjected to stalking behaviour, threats of violence have been made against you.

Before you apply for a PSIO you may wish to contact the Dispute Settlement Service of Victoria. They can provide a free mediation service to help you settle your dispute.

In Victoria you can apply for a PSIO by filing a completed application with your local Magistrates Court.  The application form can be found here.

You can find a list showing your local Magistrates Court here.

Conditions

There are various conditions which can be included under a PSIO. These include orders that prevent the Respondent from:

  • Stalking a protected person;
  • Committing prohibited behaviour towards a protected person;
  • Attempting to locate, follow the protected person or keep them under surveillance;
  • Publishing on the internet, by email or other electronic communication any material about the protected person;
  • Contacting or communicating with the protected person by any means;
  • Approaching or remaining with within a certain distance of a protected person.
  • Going to or remaining within a certain distance of anywhere the protected person lives, works, or attends school/childcare; or
  • Getting another person to do anything that the Respondent is not allowed to do under the PSIO.

The may also be an order that suspends firearm authorities, and force a Respondent to hand over firearms to the police. Any weapons approvals or exemptions held by the Respondent may also be suspended and the Respondent may have to hand over any weapons to the police.

There may also be orders that allow the Respondent to:

  • Communicate with protected person through a lawyer or mediator; or
  • Participate on mediation by agreement with the protected person, but only if the Respondent does not stalk the protected person or engage in prohibited behaviour while doing so.

Breaching an Order

If a person disobeys the terms of their order, this is known as a breach, or contravention. Breaching a PSIO is a criminal offence that carries significant penalties. For example, if the abuser approaches you in the street when they are not supposed to, or sends abusive text messages, they may be breaching the order.

If this happens, call the police.

South Australia

Intervention Orders

Intervention Orders provide quick methods of obtaining legal protection from many forms of violence including:

  • physical abuse;
  • sexual abuse; or
  • psychological abuse.

An Intervention Order can stop someone:

  • approaching you or family members at your home or any place;
  • contacting, harassing, threatening or intimidating you or any other person at a place where you live or work;
  • communicating with you in any way;
  • publishing any material about you;
  • assaulting, harassing, threatening or intimidating you; or
  • damaging property.

You can ask the SA Police (SAPOL) to apply to the Court on your behalf to obtain an order but it is important to remember that an order is not the same as a criminal charge. However, if there has been an offence committed the police may charge the abuser at the same time as getting the process started for the Order. They may also take out an on-the-spot order to protect you, which works in the same way as a court issued order. These are called Interim Intervention Orders.

For more information about Intervention Orders, visit the Don’t Cross the Line website, or download the SAPOL brochure ‘Information About Intervention Orders’.

If you want to apply for an Intervention Order you can contact SAPOL on 131 444.  Intervention Orders can also protect children who live with or are affected by domestic or family violence.

Before applying for an order, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer. It could be a private lawyer, or a lawyer from Women’s Legal Service South Australia by calling 08 8221 5553.

How To Apply?

An application can be made to a police officer or a solicitor.

If the police attend your home as a result of an incident and certain criteria is satisfied an intervention order may be issued, or an application taken by the attending police.

Applications can also be made at any police station. The police will obtain a signed statement from you and give further advice on the process involved including how the application process works, advice on how to report breaches of an order and what conditions on the order are required for your protection.

Please contact Women’s Legal Service South Australia on 08 8221 5553 or 1800 670 864 for legal advice or referrals.

What Happens Next?

In place of a Personal Protection Order, the parties may agree to an undertaking. An undertaking is a formal pledge or promise to do or stop doing something. It is not enforceable in court however it is like a promise to the court and the other party.

The offending party can offer the other party a written promise as assurance, placing conditions on their behaviour. The parties may elect to have it adjourned in order to proceed with an undertaking. If an undertaking is breached, the application for a Personal Protection Order can be brought back to Court. If  that promise or undertaking is broken the Court will be unimpressed with the person breaching the undertaking the next time that person is in Court.

The parties can agree to an Order being in place without admitting to the contents of the application or response to the application.

If you do not come to an agreement, the application may proceed to a hearing. The Magistrate will decide whether to grant an order or not and in what terms.

Breaching an Order

If a person disobeys the terms of their order, this is known as a breach, or contravention. Breaching an Intervention Order is a criminal offence that carries significant penalties. For example, if the abuser approaches you in the street when they are not supposed to, or sends abusive text messages, they may be breaching the order.

If this happens, call the police.

It is a good idea to keep copies of text messages, or write down the details of incidents.

Tasmania

Restraint Orders

A Restraint Order is a court order that may restrict contact between people or impose conditions on their behaviour. The person who applies for the restraint order is known as the Applicant and the person who is to be restrained is known as the Respondent.

Restraint Orders are made where a Magistrate determines that the Defendant has committed an act of personal violence against the protected person, or that there is a risk of it occurring.  In considering whether to make an order, the Magistrate must consider the safety of the protected person, the previous criminal history of the Respondent, and the previous conduct of the Respondent towards the Applicant as well as any child affected by the personal violence.

Personal violence can include many forms of threats or harassment, such as:

  • physical violence or abuse;
  • sexual abuse;
  • psychological abuse such as humiliation and intimidation;
  • damage to property or trespass;
  • stalking;
  • provocative or offensive behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace; or
  • threats or threatening behaviour and harassment.

Many of the above types of behaviour are also offences and should be reported to the police immediately.

The Respondent must be likely to:

  • cause the same or similar injury or damage;
  • carry out a threat; or
  • behave in the same or similar provocative or offensive manner.

Urgent applications may be heard within days from when the application is lodged. In order to have an urgent hearing there must be a high level of risk and it is heard in the absence of the Respondent.

How To Apply?

You can apply for a Restraint Order by filling in an application form and filing it at the Magistrates Court. The police also have the power to apply for a Restraint Order on behalf of a person.

A Restraint Order application form can be obtained from the Magistrates Court website.

The form can be filled in by the Applicant themselves or with the assistance of a solicitor, friend or support worker if the Applicant agrees.

The application must contain as much information as possible so that the Magistrate can be satisfied that the person the Applicant wishes to restrain has committed the acts and that they are likely to commit them again in the future.

Restraint Orders are generally used against people who will only stop doing the offending acts if a court tells them to.

Restraint Orders can be applied for in situations where there is a neighbourhood dispute or the behaviour is between children and parents, siblings, friends or acquaintances. If you are in an intimate relationship or have been you can apply for a Family Violence Order.

For further information or for advice, you can contact Women’s Legal Service Tasmania on 1800 682 468.

What Happens Next?

After you have filed your application, the Court may order that you attend a conciliation conference with the other party.

A conciliation conference is a form of mediation which provides an opportunity for parties to make a genuine effort to settle their disputes with the assistance of an independent conciliator. Reaching an agreement during the conciliation conference will save the need for further court time.

In place of a restraint order, the parties may agree to an undertaking. An undertaking is a formal pledge or promise to do or stop doing something. It is not enforceable in court however it is like a promise to the court and the other party.

The offending party can offer the other party a written promise as assurance, placing conditions on their behaviour. The parties may elect to have it adjourned in order to proceed with an undertaking. If an undertaking is breached, the application for a restraint order can be brought back to court. If you break that promise or undertaking the court will be unimpressed with you the next time you appear before them.

Sometimes the outcome of a Conciliation Conference is an agreement that an Order should be made. The parties can agree to this without admitting to the contents of the application or response to the application (this means that both parties agree to put the Order in place, even if they don’t agree with what the other party says happened).

If you do not come to an agreement, the application may proceed to a hearing. The Magistrate will decide whether to grant an order or not and in what terms.

Conditions

There are various orders which can be made under a Restraint Order. These include limiting the contact between the parties, and preventing the Defendant from:

  • assaulting or threatening the Applicant;
  • stalking the Applicant;
  • acting in an offensive manner;
  • contacting or approaching the Applicant at home or work;
  • damaging property; or
  • possessing firearms.

Breaching an Order

Breach of a Restraint Order is an offence, and you should contact the police if the Order is breached. The penalty for breaching an Order can be a large fine or  imprisonment.

Queensland

Restraint Orders

A Restraint Order is a court order that may restrict contact between people or impose conditions on their behaviour. The person who applies for the Restraint Order is known as the Applicant and the person who is to be restrained is known as the Respondent.

In Queensland, there are a number of Restraint Orders, including a Domestic Violence Order, a Peace and Good Behaviour Order and a Restraining Order in respect of stalking. The appropriate Order which you should apply for will depend upon your relationship with the Respondent. Restraint Orders provide for a fast and flexible method of obtaining legal protection from many forms of harassment and violence, which include:

  • physical abuse;
  • sexual abuse;
  • psychological abuse such as humiliation and intimidation;
  • damage to property;
  • stalking; and
  • threats and harassment.

Many of the above types of behaviour are also offences and should be reported to the police immediately.

Restraining Orders

A restraining order may be made by a Magistrate against a person who has been charged with the offence of unlawful stalking whether or not that person is subsequently found guilty of the offence. Unlawful stalking is conduct which:

  • is intentionally directed at a person;
  • engaged in on any one occasion if the conduct is protracted or on more than one occasion; and
  • consists of acts which causes, a person apprehension or fear of violence, or detriment.

If you think you are being stalked, you should immediately make a complaint to the police.

Restraining Order Conditions

There are various orders, which can be made under a restraining order. The court will make an appropriate restraining order against the person in relation to any person or any property having regard to the circumstances of the ‘unlawful stalking’.

Peace and Good Behaviour Orders

A Peace and Good Behaviour Order may be made by a magistrate against a person whom you fear and who has threatened to:

  • assault or to injure, or have someone else assault or injure, you or any person in your care; or
  • destroy or damage, or have someone else destroy or damage, your property.

Peace and Good Behaviour Order Conditions

The court may make any Orders the court thinks fit, including Orders which prevent the other person from:

  • threatening or contacting you;
  • coming to your home; or
  • damaging or affecting your use and enjoyment of your property.

How to apply for a Peace and Good Behaviour Order?

You can apply for a Peace and Good Behaviour Order by filling in an application form (called Form 01 – Complaint  from the Queensland Courts website) and filing it at the Magistrates Court. The police also have the power to apply for a restraint order on behalf of a person.

The form can be filled in by the applicant themselves or with the assistance of a solicitor, friend or support worker if the applicant agrees.

The application must contain as much information as possible so that the magistrate can be satisfied that the person the Applicant wishes to restrain has committed the acts and that they are likely to commit them again in the future.

Restraint orders are generally used against people who will only stop doing the offending acts if a court tells them to.

Breaches of Orders

Breach of a Restraint Order (DVO, Peace and Good Behaviour Order or Restraining Order) is an offence. You need to contact the police if the Restraint Order is breached. The penalty for breaching a Restraint Order can include significant fines and/or periods of imprisonment.