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Family law

Applying for a Protection Order: Long-term protection against family violence

Who will be protected by a Protection Order

Who can be protected by a Protection Order?

Family Violence Act 2018, ss 8, 86, 87

As well as covering you (the “applicant”), the Protection Order will also automatically cover any child under 18 who usually or regularly lives with you.

The child doesn’t have to be the biological child of you or the other person. They can also be, for example, a whāngai or foster child, or a boarder.

Note: If your child is covered by a Protection Order they’ll continue to be protected for as long as they continue to live with you and the order is still in force, even after they’ve turned 18. By contrast, if the child stops living with you, they’ll no longer be covered by the order, even if they’re still under 18. Once a child is no longer covered by a Protection Order, it’s a good idea to ask the court to change (“vary”) the order so that the child can be specifically named in the order as another protected person (see below).

You can ask for the Protection Order to cover other children who don’t usually or regularly live with you. The judge can include those other children if the judge thinks they need protection.

You can also ask for the Protection Order to cover other named people with whom you have a family relationship – for example, your mother or father, or a new partner or flatmate. You’ll need to show that the respondent (the violent person) has committed family violence against those other named people as well, that this violence is linked to the respondent’s relationship with you, and that the other people need to be included in the Protection Order to protect them. They’ll usually also need to agree to being covered by the order.

Who can a Protection Order be made against?

Family Violence Act 2018, ss 9, 79, 89

A Protection Order can be made against anyone who is or has been in a family relationship with you and who has been violent or abusive towards you or your children (see “Types of relationships covered by the family violence laws” in this chapter).

A Protection Order can also be made against other people who the respondent (the violent person) has encouraged to abuse or threaten you or to do other things that amount to family violence against you. These people are then called “associated respondents”.

Family Violence Act 2018, s 64

However, a Protection Order can’t be made against anyone who’s under 16 (including as an “Associated Respondent”). An order can be made against a 16 or 17 year old (including as an Associated Respondent) if there are special circumstances.

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Family violence and elder abuse

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Age Concern


Age Concern provides a range of resources on aspects of life for older people including elder abuse.

Phone: (04) 801 9338 or 0800 65 2 105
Email: national.office@ageconcern.org.nz

Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS)

Helpline: 0800 32 668 65

With this confidential 24-hour, free-phone helpline, registered nurses will listen and provide information and support about elder abuse – whether the caller is calling on their own behalf or is concerned about a friend or family member. Callers will then be referred to local elder abuse services to get the help they need.

Family Court


This Family Court webpage provides pamphlets and other information giving an overview of how family violence is dealt with in the courts and how Protection Orders can help keep people safe from family violence. The website also provides information on responding to a Protection Order application.

You can access the pamphlets online, or you can order hard copies by contacting the Family Court on:

Phone: 0800 587 847
Email: publications@justice.govt.nz

Family Court family violence forms

These forms, and a guide for how to complete a Protection Order application, are available at www.justice.govt.nz/family/family-violence/protection-order-forms

Family Court fee waiver forms

These forms are available here:


Independent Police Conduct Authority


Postal Address: PO Box 5025, Wellington 6145

Phone: (04) 499 2050
Phone: 0800 503 728

Email: info@ipca.govt.nz

The IPCA receives and investigates complaints against the police. A complaint form is available online.

“Family violence” (Law Society pamphlet)

Available at: www.lawsociety.org.nz/about-us/about-our-publications/law-awareness-brochures

Access pamphlets online or order hardcopies from the New Zealand Law Society.

Phone: (04) 472 7837
Email: pamphlets@lawsociety.org.nz

Women’s Refuge


Women’s Refuge provides 24-hour support, advocacy and accommodation for women and their children experiencing family violence.

Crisis Line

Phone: 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)

Women’s Refuge provides a free phone line for people anywhere in New Zealand. Get information, advice and support about family violence as well as help in a crisis.

Fact sheets

A range of resources and fact sheets are available online.

Phone: (04) 802 5078
Email: info@refuge.org.nz

Family Violence – It’s Not OK


Phone: 0800 456 450

“It’s not OK” is a community-driven behaviour change campaign to reduce family violence in New Zealand. Its goal is to change attitudes and behaviour that tolerate any kind of family violence. The website has resources for families who are experiencing abuse. It’s not OK is an initiative housed within the Ministry of Social Development.

Family violence and disabled people


Family violence and migrant families


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