Police have a range of tools available to them in situations of family violence. They can issue a Police Order, a Violence Restraining Order, and a Misconduct Restraining Order. Alternatively they can locate a refuge for you or find alternative accommodation if you need to leave immediately. They can also refer you to support agencies such as Crisis Care, counselling services and legal services such as the Legal Aid Domestic Violence Legal Unit.
Where there is insufficient evidence to arrest and charge a person for any act of family and domestic violence, but police hold concerns for the safety and welfare of any person, police may issue a Police Order. A Police Order is an on the spot restraining order and may last for up to 72 hours. When police issue such notices they may generally attach certain conditions to the order. This can include conditions preventing the perpetrator from returning to his or her home. The duration of police-issued protection orders varies significantly across jurisdictions. In WA, police-issued protection orders can either last for 24 hours (without the consent of the victim, parent, guardian, or child welfare officer), or for 72 hours (with consent). The duration of a Police Order cannot be extended or renewed and another police order cannot be made in relation to the same facts.
Violence Restraining Order
A violence restraining order (VRO) is designed to stop threats, property damage, violence, intimidating behaviour and emotional abuse in the future. It is an order of the court. 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, and
- VROs against a person you are not in a family or domestic relationship with (called a Misconduct Restraining Order – see below).
A VRO can have conditions which stop the person bound by the VRO from doing certain things such as:
- being on or near your home or place of work
- being on or near a certain place
- coming within a certain distance of you
- contacting or trying to contact you in any way, including texting, ringing , emailing or writing- even through other people
- contacting you in certain circumstances or in particular way, e.g only by texting to make arrangements for contact with your children
- behaving in certain ways
- being in possession of firearms, ammunition or a firearms licence.
A VRO may also inform the person bound/respondent that certain behaviour and activities are unlawful, that is, they may break a criminal law.
Misconduct Restraining Order
A misconduct restraining order (MRO) is designed to stop a person behaving in a way that is intimidating or offensive towards you. It is an order of the court. It can also stop a person causing damage to your property or 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 or the person seeking to be protected. The person who you want the order against is the respondent or the person bound if a restraining order is made.
A misconduct restraining order only applies to someone you are not in a family or domestic relationship with. You are in a family or domestic relationship with someone if that other person is your:
- spouse or ex-spouse
- de facto or ex-de facto
- girlfriend/boyfriend or ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend
- child, step-child or grandchild
- parent, step-parent or grandparent
- your sibling or step-sibling
- relative or former relative.
This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.