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Protections against family violence

Key legal tools that will protect you: “Protection orders” and “Police Safety Orders”

Protection orders made by the Family Court for long-term protection

Family Violence Act 2018, s 59

The key form of protection under the family violence laws is the Protection Order – a formal court order granted by the Family Court (or by the Criminal Courts in some cases).

This is the main way family violence laws try to protect victims of family violence and their children from future violence and abuse. The order names the person who has been violent or abusive (called “the respondent”), and says they must not be violent or abusive towards the person who applied for the order (“the applicant” – that’s you) or the applicant’s children. The order will also put various other conditions on the respondent about things they have to do or are not allowed to do.

For more information, see: “Applying for a Protection Order: Long-term protection against family violence”, and “What a Protection Order does”.

Police Safety Orders: Immediate, short-term protection

Another very common form of protection provided by the Family Violence Act is Police Safety Orders. These provide immediate, short-term protection for people at risk from family violence. They’re issued by the police “on the spot” – the courts aren’t involved.

A PSO means that the person who’s been violent or abusive must leave the home and stay away from you for up to five days.

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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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