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Restraining Orders

If someone commits family violence or personal violence towards you, threatens you or your property, harasses or intimidates you and you are concerned that it will continue and put you at risk, you can apply to have a restraining order taken out against them.

A restraining order makes it against the law for that person to come near you or your property. A restraining order also makes it illegal for the person to use other people to contact you or to try other means of contact; for example, SMS, mail or email. These are breaches of the restraining order and the person can be charged by the police with a criminal offence. If this happens the court will deal with the person.

A restraining order is designed to prevent family violence or personal violence and stop threats in the future. It is an order of the court requiring a person to behave in certain ways and the conditions imposed in the order will vary according to the circumstances under which the order is sought.

The 'applicant' is the person applying for a restraining order. The 'respondent' is the person against whom the order is sought.

There are three types of restraining orders:

  • family violence restraining order
  • violence restraining order and
  • misconduct restraining order.

An application for a restraining order can be made by:

  • a police officer on behalf of a person or a group
  • a person seeking protection
  • a parent or guardian of a child and
  • a guardian of a person.

Applications for restraining orders can be made at a Magistrates Court or, if the respondent is a juvenile, in the Children’s Court.  If the person seeking to be protected is a child and the respondent is not a child, the application can be made at either the Magistrates Court or the Children's Court. Courts are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. 

If an urgent order is required to prevent family violence or personal violence, and it is not possible to make an application to the court (e.g. it is outside of court hours or you are in a remote location), police can issue 72 hour police orders or apply for a Telephone Order.

To request that police make an application on your behalf, telephone 131 444. Call 000 for emergencies.

The Family Violence Service or your local Victim Support Service office can help with information regarding taking out a restraining order.

For legal advice or assistance, contact your solicitor, Legal Aid on 1300 650 579, your nearest Community Legal Centre, Aboriginal Legal Service or Women's Legal Service.

Last updated: 6-Jul-2018

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