Domestic violence: overview

This chapter provides information about New Zealand’s domestic violence laws. It begins with an overview of the key legislation, the Domestic Violence Act, and the tools available under the Act for protecting victims of violence and abuse. The chapter then explains:

  • the kinds of behaviour that amount to “domestic violence”, and the types of relationships covered by the domestic violence laws
  • Police Safety Orders, which are made by the police to provide immediate short-term protection against domestic violence
  • how to apply for a protection order from the Family Court
  • what a protection order does, including the different rules (“conditions”) that must be obeyed by the person who’s been violent or abusive
  • non-violence programmes for people who have had a protection order made against them, and support programmes (“safety programmes”) for victims of the abuse and violence
  • how protection orders are enforced by the police and the courts, including what happens if an order is breached
  • how and when a protection order comes to an end
  • what a person can do to challenge a protection order that’s been made against them.

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