What help can the police give me if I am a victim of violence?
A physical assault, stalking or a threat of violence is a criminal offence. If you are a victim of an offence, you can call the police and they may:
- Remove weapons from the offender.
- Where there has been family and domestic violence, immediately issue a police order for up to 72 hours, which prevents the offender from coming near you or the places you live and work for that period of time.
- Arrest and charge the offender with committing a criminal offence. If the police release the offender on bail, they may impose conditions preventing the offender from coming near you until they appear in court.
A police officer cannot make a police order against a child that might affect the care and wellbeing of a child unless they are satisfied that appropriate arrangements have been made for their care and wellbeing.
What is a police order?
Police may make an on the spot restraining order called a police order in situations of family and domestic violence. A police order may be made for up to 72 hours.
There are two other types of restraining orders. For more information see Violence restraining orders and Misconduct restraining orders.
Can a person bound by a police order recover any of their essential property form the person protected?
If the police order has a condition allowing for the collection of property from the protected person's residence in the presence of a police officer, they can ring 131 444 (Police Assistance Centre). Their request will be put on hold until the police can contact you and arrange a time convenient to you and the police for the person bound by the police order to collect their property in the presence of a police officer.
Is a police order a criminal charge?
Notice of a police order does not go on a person's criminal record.
However, if a person bound by a police order breaches that order, they may be charged with the criminal offence of breaching a police order. A conviction for breaching of a police order will go on their criminal record.
Breaches of a police order can result in fines of up to $6,000 or imprisonment for up to two years.
What if I have been injured?
If you have been injured, get medical help immediately. If necessary, the Crisis Care Unit may be able to help with transport. Tell a doctor what happened and remember to take a note of the date and the doctor's name and address.
If possible, get someone to take photographs of the injuries, provided that person is prepared to go to court with you.
Keep any evidence of assault such as torn clothing.
If the police are involved, ask them to collect evidence and arrange for photographs to be taken. Ask the police for an Incident Report Number.
Criminal injuries compensation
If you have suffered physical or mental injury or loss as a result of violence, you may be entitled to apply for compensation. You should get legal advice about whether or not you can get compensation, including if you believe you have a claim but are outside the time limit.
If you are an adult who received injuries as a child, you may have grounds for a claim and should seek legal advice.
For more information about this, see Compensation for victims of crime.
Am I eligible for assistance if I am on a visa?
If you are on a temporary visa, you may need legal advice about family and domestic violence and immigration issues. See Immigration status and family violence.
Where can I get more information?
- For general support contact the 24-hours - Crisis Care Unit (Department for Child Protection and Family Support) on (08) 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008 if you are outside the metropolitan area.
- For legal advice and assistance for women, contact the Domestic Violence Legal Unit of Legal Aid WA on (08) 9261 6254 between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
- For legal information and referral for men, contact Legal Aid WA's InfoLine on 1300 650 579 or the 24-hour Men's Domestic Violence Helpline on (08) 9223 1199 or 1800 000 599.
- Police support is available from your local police station - call 131 444 for assistance.
- For more resources, see Family and domestic violence - support services.
- See the Legal Aid WA information sheet Violence restraining orders (family and domestic violence) and police orders.
Last reviewed: 21/03/2013