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Family law

What a Protection Order does

Care of children and Protection Orders

Parenting Orders under the Care of Children Act

If you apply for a Protection Order you can also apply for a Parenting Order under the Care of Children Act 2004 at the same time, to establish new arrangements for day-to-day care and contact. The respondent can also apply for a Parenting Order. See the chapter “Parents, guardians and caregivers”.

Care of Children Act 2004, ss 4, 5, 5A

When a Family Court Judge makes a Parenting Order about arrangements for day-to-day care and contact, a key factor is the need to keep the child safe from all forms of violence, including from family members. If there is, or has ever been, a Protection Order in force against one of the parents, then the judge must specifically take into account:

  • whether the Protection Order is still in force
  • the circumstances in which the order was made, and
  • any written reasons given by the judge who made the Protection Order.

If a judge making a Parenting Order is deciding about contact with a particular parent and isn’t satisfied that the child would be safe with that parent, the judge can order that any contact between the child and that parent must be supervised.

Care of Children Act 2004, ss 58–60

Supervised contact means that contact is overseen by an approved organisation, or by a suitable person approved by the Family Court, such as a relative or family friend. It means that contact will happen in a safe, controlled situation. The cost of supervised contact is paid by the government.

Temporary (“interim”) Parenting Orders

Family Violence Act 2018, s 105

If you’ve applied for a Protection Order, the Family Court can make a temporary (“interim”) Parenting Order dealing with day-to-day care or contact arrangements for your child, if this is necessary to protect the child’s welfare and best interests. This can be done even if you haven’t applied for a Parenting Order.

If the court does make a temporary Parenting Order, you’ll need to apply for a full Parenting Order under the Care of Children Act as soon as possible. See the chapter “Parents, guardians and caregivers”.

Can a respondent have contact with the children?

Family Violence Act 2018, ss 90–96

Because of the non-contact conditions in a Protection Order, the respondent usually can’t have any contact with children who usually or regularly live with you, the applicant. This means that if you and the respondent are co-parents, usually you’ll have sole day-to-day care of the children, and the respondent can’t have contact with them for as long as the Protection Order is in force.

However, the respondent can have contact with the children if:

  • you’ve agreed to the respondent living with you and the children, or
  • contact is allowed under a Parenting Order or other court order, or under a written parenting agreement between you and the respondent.

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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


Also available as a book

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