Violence Restraining Orders (VROs)
What is personal violence?
Personal violence means:
- assaulting you or causing you injury
- kidnapping you or depriving you of your liberty
- threatening to do any of those things above
- stalking you.
If someone imagines or believes that they have a personal relationship with you, but it isn't real, you can apply for a VRO if they do things that would be treated as family violence in a real relationship.
When can the court make a VRO?
The court can make a VRO against the respondent to protect you if:
- the respondent has committed personal violence against you and is likely to commit personal violence against you in the future, or
- you (or the person who applied for an order for you) have good reasons to think that the respondent will commit personal violence against you.
If the court is satisfied of either of those two things, it can only make a VRO if:
- you are not in a family relationship with the respondent, and
- having taken into account a range of factors, it is appropriate in the circumstances to make a VRO.
The court can make an VRO to help protect a child from being exposed to personal violence. A child is exposed to violence if they see, hear or experience its effects.
If you are in a family relationship with the respondent, you may be able to apply for an FVRO against them.
What restrictions can be included in a VRO?
A VRO can have conditions to stop the respondent from doing certain things that they normally would be allowed to do, such as:
- coming to or near where you live or work
- being at or near a certain place
- coming within a certain distance of you
- contacting or trying to communicate with you in any way.
If the respondent breaks any of those restrictions, they are committing a criminal offence.
The court can include a condition that the respondent has one opportunity to collect their personal items from somewhere they used to live or work (usually with a police officer).
The restrictions in the VRO can be shaped to suit your situation.
My current VRO is against a family member. Do I need to apply for a FVRO?
Before 1 July 2017, you could apply for a VRO to help protect you from family members. There will be people who have restraining orders that were made under the old rules. If your VRO is against a family member, it can be enforced by police and the courts until the order expires.
However, you should get legal advice if you want to make changes to an existing VRO that is against a family member, including asking to have the order extended.
Reviewed: 1 May 2020