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Communtity Law Manual | Family Law | Family violence & elder abuse | Protections against family violence

Protections against family violence

Overview

“Family violence” includes physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse, by anyone you are in a “family relationship” with. Both of these terms are explained in more detail below.

If you have experienced family violence, the police and courts can help keep you safe. Police officers can issue a temporary Police Safety Order, and a judge can issue a longer-lasting “protection order”. Everything you need to know about these two options is in this section.

At a glance: A court can make a protection order to help keep you safe from future domestic violence

Protection orders tell the other person that they have to:

  • not hurt, threaten or harass you
  • stay away from you and any child of your family and not contact you (unless you want to stay living together, which is allowed)
  • hand any firearms they have to the police
  • attend a non-violence programme
  • meet other requirements (see below for more details).

If there is a child involved, the court will also issue orders about what contact the person can have with the child.

Protection orders are usually dealt with urgently, without telling the other person until they’re issued.

You don’t need a lawyer to get a protection order, but it is a good idea to have one.

The only evidence you need to give the court is a written statement from you, explaining what has happened, and why you need the protection order.

Breaching a protection order is a criminal offence, and the person can be arrested immediately.

It’s best to apply for a protection order as soon as you realise you need one, rather than waiting.

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