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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 family violence laws”).

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 you with free initial legal advice on how legal aid works, whether you might be eligible for the service, and the next steps.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Age Concern

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

Website: www.ageconcern.org.nz
Email: national.office@ageconcern.org.nz
Phone: 0800 65 2 105

Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS) – Office for Seniors

The Elder Abuse Response Service is a free, confidential 24-hour helpline.

Website: www.officeforseniors.govt.nz/our-work/raising-awareness-of-elder-abuse/elder-abuse-response-service
Email: support@elderabuse.nz
Phone: 0800 32 668 65
Text: 5032

Women’s Refuge

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

Website: www.womensrefuge.org.nz
Crisis line (24/7): 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)
Email: info@refuge.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/womensrefugenz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/womensrefugenz

Family Violence – It’s Not OK

“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.

Website: www.areyouok.org.nz
Phone: 0800 456 450

Family Court

The Family Court website provides helpful information about family violence and the legal options available to keep families safe.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/family/family-violence

New Zealand Law Society

The Law Society has helpful information on family violence and protection orders.

Website: www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/common-legal-issues/family-violence

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