Do you need a Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO)?
You will need to apply for a FVRO if you require protection from a person with whom you are, or were, in a family relationship – e.g. married, de-facto partners, ex-partners, related to each other (including by culture or kinship) or otherwise in an intimate or family-type relationship. If anyone of these people threaten, harass or intimidate you and you are concerned that it will continue, then you can apply to have a FVRO taken out against the person concerned. A FVRO is a court order preventing the offender from behaving in an intimidating or offensive manner. A FVRO prevents the person from coming near you or your property. It is a criminal offence to disobey the conditions of the FVRO. There is no fee for applying to the Magistrates Court for a FVRO. Under the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, FVRO and Police Order will be automatically recognised and enforceable across the whole of Australia.
How long does a FVRO last?
An interim FVRO stays in force until it is cancelled, dismissed or becomes final. Unless varied or cancelled, a final FVRO against an adult usually lasts for two years. If the respondent is in prison when the order is made, the time the order stays in force runs from when they are released.
How does a FVRO affect children spending time with either parent?
A FVRO can be made for a child as the person protected or a FVRO for an adult as the person protected can be extended by the court to protect a child or children. Read the FVRO carefully as the Court may include conditions about what contact the person can have with their children.
Is a FVRO a criminal charge?
A FVRO itself is not a criminal charge. Notice of a FVRO does not go on the person bound’s criminal record. However, if a person bound by a FVRO breaches that order, they may be charged with the criminal offence of breaching a FVRO. A conviction for breach of a FVRO or a Police Order will go on their criminal record. Breaches of a FVRO or a Police Order can result in fines of up to $6,000 or imprisonment for up to two years or both.
What is a breach of a FVRO or police order?
A Police Order or a FVRO will prevent the person bound from doing certain things. You should read the order carefully to know what behaviour is restricted. If the person bound does something that the Police Order or FVRO says they can’t do, they are “breaching” the order. For example, if a Police Order or FVRO says the person bound is not allowed to communicate with you, the person bound must not:
- visit you;
- call you on the phone;
- send SMS or text messages (WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook) to you;
- send emails to you;
- send letters to you;
- send presents to you; or
- send messages to you, even through friends, family or your children.
You should report any breaches of a Police Order or FVRO to the police.
For more information about domestic violence, please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly lawyers.