Violence Restraining Orders (WA)

In Western Australia, What is a Violence Restraining Order (VRO)?

In Western Australia, Domestic Violence Orders are known as Violence Restraining Orders (VROs). They provide legal protection to an adult or child against another person who may expose them to personal violence (i.e. assaulting or causing you injury, kidnapping or impinging on your liberty, stalking, or threatening you or your property, etc.)

In order to make it evident that you need a VRO, you need to prove to Court that:

  1. An act of family or personal violence has occurred and may happen again
  2. That the person who needs protection fears that an act of family or personal violence will occur

When applying to court for a VRO, confidentiality is a priority.

The first step is to fill out an application form either in person at court or online via a legitimate legal service provider. You may choose to proceed to the next hearing without notifying the respondent (the person you are applying the VRO against) about your application.

Although the general public will not be allowed to enter the courtroom during the first hearing thereby resulting in a “closed court.” However, court may allow you to bring one support person to the hearing.

What is Family Violence?

Family violence occurs when someone is violent towards, or threatens violence towards, a family member. ‘Family’ in this context can mean current and ex-partners, parents, children and other family members. It is any behaviour that coerces or controls another family member, or causes them to be fearful. It includes physical, financial, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse.

Who is included as a family member?
  • Spouses, siblings, children, parents, grandparents, step-family relationships, relatives
  • Members of intimate/family-type relationships

Former spouse or former de facto partner of the person who wants to be protected’s current spouse or current de facto partner.

Interim VROs

You may be granted an interim VRO (a temporary order established before a final VRO is decided) at the first hearing. This interim VRO will be valid until a decision is made regarding the final VRO. In order to receive a final VRO, the respondent must know about the application and be allowed an opportunity to come to court.


Who can apply for a Violence Restraining Order (VRO)?

Adults (to non-family members), Parents, guardians, or child welfare officers (to protect children), Police officers (to protect adults or children), An individual’s guardian chosen under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (WA), etc.

More than one person can be protected under one VRO, but the court may choose to make multiple VROs to ensure the safety of each person.

Where can I apply for a VRO?

To apply against a person under 18, applications must be made in the Children’s Court.

To apply in order to protect a person under 18 and against someone older than 18, applications can be made either in the Children’s Court or the Magistrates Court.

All other applications must be made in the Magistrates Court.

What conditions could be included in a VRO?

The respondent could be stopped from:

Approaching your home or workplace
Contacting or communicating with you
Being within a certain distance of you
Coming to or being near a certain place
VRO conditions can be made unique to your situation. The respondent’s failure to meet your VRO’s conditions is considered a criminal offence.

How long does a VRO last?

An interim VRO is valid until it becomes a final VRO, or is dismissed/cancelled by court. Final VROs against adults last about two years, and up to 6 months against a child or youth. Orders against adults may be extended if proven necessary.

What happens in Court during the first hearing?

If you file your application form online through an approved legal service provider, you can choose a first hearing time when you lodge your application. If you need an earlier hearing date, you or your legal service provider will need to contact the court. At the first hearing, the courtroom will be closed to the public and the respondent will not be there.

An affidavit is a written statement made under oath. If you make an affidavit, the court must read it and may ask you some extra questions. You might be required to testify in court about your situation and the events that led to your request for a violence restraining order.

The court will consider the evidence you have provided about how you know the respondent and why you want a VRO. Then, the Court can make an interim order immediately but may dismiss your application entirely or adjourn the case to another hearing so both sides can prepare their cases. For VROs in the Perth Children’s Court involving children who attend the same school, the case may be referred to a mediation conference. You can find more information and videos about VROs in the Children’s Court.

What happens if an interim VRO is made?

The police will serve the interim VRO on the respondent. After it is served on the respondent, the interim VRO can be enforced by the police and the court.

Once served, the respondent has 21 days to object to a final VRO being made. They can ask the court for a copy of your affidavit and a transcript or record of what was said at the first hearing.

If the respondent does not object to the interim order within 21 days, it automatically becomes a final VRO. If the respondent sends in a notice of objection to the court, the interim order will remain in place. You and the respondent will need to come back to court for a hearing so the court can decide if a final VRO should be made. Objecting to an interim VRO does not mean the order is cancelled.

How else can a court make a VRO?

VROs can be made during other cases and in other courts. This includes:

in bail applications and court cases about criminal charges when sentencing people for violent or sex offences during parenting cases in the Family Court of WA during protection and care cases in the Children’s Court of WA.

What restrictions can be included in an FVRO?

When an FVRO is issued, an order prohibiting contact can be included. If this is included in the order, the respondent commits a criminal offence if they breach any part of the order. For example, they could be charged with breaching their FVRO if they enter your work or home area, or if they try to contact you in any way.

The FVRO conditions are designed to protect you and give you peace of mind that the respondent cannot approach you. Conditions that may be set include:

  • Prohibiting the respondent from coming to or near where you live or work
  • Being at or near a certain place (for example, your workplace)
  • Coming within a certain distance of you
  • Contacting or trying to communicate with you in any way

An exception can be made for one time only for the respondent to collect their possessions from a place that was associated with them (for instance, the home the couple shared).

What if I already have a current Domestic Violence Order from another state or territory?

Restraining orders relating to family violence (sometimes called domestic violence) can now be nationally recognised and enforced by police and the courts anywhere in Australia. An existing (current) family violence order will automatically apply across Australia if it: 

  • was made on or after 25 November 2017 (in any Australian state or territory, including WA) 
  • was made or varied in a Victorian court (on any date), or 
  • was made in New Zealand and registered in Victoria (on any date). 

If your existing order is not automatically enforceable in WA, you can apply for national recognition. This may be simpler, quicker and safer than applying for a new FVRO. 

You should get legal advice or contact a local court where your order was originally made to see if you need to apply for national recognition. 

What if the other person already has criminal charges related to me?

Bail conditions may already include requirements that the person you need protection from does not contact you or enter your address or workplace. If this is so, there may be no need to make a separate application for a final FVRO if the person is convicted or pleads guilty.

Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation

If your ready to take the next step, lets chat about how we can help to get your life back on track. Call us at: 1800 572 122 to arrange an informal chat. We are here to help every step of the way. Please note that My Legal Crunch does not provide legal aid services.