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Family law

How and when a Protection Order ends


How long do Protection Orders last for?

Family Violence Act 2018, s 107

If you’ve obtained a temporary Protection Order, it will last for three months. If the respondent doesn’t challenge it, or is unsuccessful in challenging it, it becomes final and permanent after three months.

A final Protection Order lasts forever. It will only end if you or the respondent apply to the Family Court to have it cancelled (“discharged”) and the judge decides that the Protection Order is no longer needed to protect you.

What if I don’t want the Protection Order anymore?

Family Violence Act 2018, s 91

If you’ve obtained a Protection Order, either you or the respondent can apply to the Family Court to have the order cancelled (“discharged”).

The judge will only cancel the Protection Order if satisfied that it’s no longer needed for your protection.

If the respondent has applied to have the order cancelled but you don’t agree with this, there’ll be a “defended” hearing, where both sides will get a chance to tell the judge their side of the story. The judge will then decide whether the Protection Order should stay in place or be cancelled.

If someone other than you or your children was specifically named in the order as another protected person, that person can also apply to have the order cancelled as far as it relates to them. If the order was also made against an associate of the respondent (called an “associated respondent”), they can also apply to have the order cancelled as it relates to them.

If an order is discharged against the respondent, the order will no longer apply for the benefit of a specified protected person or against an associated respondent.

Do I need to get the Protection Order cancelled if I want to see the other person?

Family Violence Act 2018, s 170

If you want to choose to see the person you have a Protection Order against, once or twice, or regularly, you don’t need to discharge the Protection Order to do that.

You don’t need to get the Protection Order cancelled (“discharged”):

  • to visit the person in prison
  • to allow the person to have contact with a child of your family
  • just because an agency, like Oranga Tamariki, or a school, wants you to.

You are in control of allowing contact with the respondent for any of these reasons, or any other reason. All you need to do is be clear that you are choosing to allow this specific contact.

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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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