Restraining orders can be made by the court to protect a person who experienced violence in the family or any form of violence against them. These individuals can also file for a restraining order in the event of threats, harassment, intimidation, or any other circumstance that puts the individual at risk or in a dangerous situation.
Breach in restraining orders is a criminal offence. It is often penalized with a fine and/or imprisonment. Restraining orders can be differentiated into three types.
Types of Restraining Orders
Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO)
Application for Family Violence Restraining Order can be applied against a person to who you have or had a family relationship. This includes a spouse, ex-spouse, partners, siblings, kin, or any other person you have been involved with in a family-like relationship.
Filing for a FVRO is free at the Magistrates Court. Here are the documents that you need to fill up to be able to apply for a restraining order.
Violence Restraining Order (VRO)
Violence restraining orders are for persons who you do not have a family relationship with. These include colleagues, friends, your boss or neighbor. Applying for a Violence Restraining Order is also free to the Magistrates Court. Below are the basic court procedures for a Violence Restraining Order application.
Misconduct Restraining Order (MRO)
Misconduct Restraining Orders are applied for persons whom you have no family relationship with and are not permitted from doing the following acts:
Intimidating and offensive actions against the complainant
Damaging a complainant’s property
Breaching the peace
Fees are charged in relation to misconduct restraining orders. Fact sheets for the application procedure are available below:
When Does the Magistrate Court Grants a VRO?
The Section 11A of the Restraining Orders Act 1997 stipulates that the Magistrate Court may grant a VRO if the Respondent has committed an act of abuse against the Applicant. Such is also granted if the Court sees the circumstances fit. Even though the Act clearly distinguishes “family or domestic violence” and “personal violence” as different circumstances, both include instances wherein there is emotional abuse and intimidating behavior against the Applicant.
A VRO is also considered appropriate by the Court if such grants will stop a behavior or hardship caused by the Respondent to the Applicant. It is also most likely granted in situations where the well-being of the children will be affected by the grant for the restraining order.
What Happens When a Restraining Order is Breached?
A VRO will not appear on the criminal record of the Respondent. However, if there is an offence that breaches the terms of the VRO, it is reported to the police and considered as a criminal offence.
Section 61 of the Restraining Orders Act 1997 governs such breaches. Penalties of up to $6,000, or imprisonment for up to two years, or both are the sanctions for breach in VRO. Penalties are higher for acts that involved children being exposed to acts of violence. Misconduct Restraining Orders, when breached has a fine of $1,000.
Mandatory imprisonment is imposed to Respondents who are guilty of breaching a VRO thrice.
In need of legal advice or help in applying for a restraining order? Kean Legal Barristers & Solicitors can help you. Call our 24/7 hotline to set an appointment today. +61 8 6323 8697