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Breaches of Protection Orders: When the other person doesn’t obey the order


What can I do if the other person doesn’t obey the Protection Order?

Family Violence Act 2018, ss 112, 113

If you’ve obtained a Protection Order and the person who that Protection Order is against doesn’t obey one of the conditions of the order, this is a breach of the order and a criminal offence. You should report any breach to the police.

As well as being charged with breaching a Protection Order, the respondent can also be charged with any other crime they committed at the same time – for example, an assault.

What can the police do if a Protection Order is breached?

Family Violence Act 2018, s 113; Bail Act 2000, ss 8, 23

The police can arrest the respondent, without warrant, if they have good reason to suspect the respondent of breaching the Protection Order (unless the breach was failing to attend a non-violence programme).

If the respondent is arrested, the police can’t release them on bail for 24 hours immediately after the arrest, unless they can be brought to court before then.

You (the applicant) should be informed and be given the opportunity to provide input into the bail decision. The most important factor when the judge is making the bail decision is the need to protect you and anyone else who’s covered by the Protection Order. If bail is granted, the police can impose certain conditions – for example, that the respondent can’t go to certain places or see certain people.

What’s the penalty for breaching a Protection Order?

Family Violence Act 2018, ss 112(3), 211

The maximum penalty for breaching a condition of a Protection Order (except the requirement to attend a non-violence programme) is three years in prison.

If the respondent fails to attend a non-violence programme as required, the maximum penalty is six months in prison or a $5,000 fine.

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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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