COVID-19: Changes to the way you can apply for a VRO
If you are at risk of personal violence, it is very important to think about your safety in deciding what to do next.
There are a range of possible options to help protect you, including getting a Violence Restraining Order (VRO).
What is the main change to the way you can apply for a VRO?
Recent changes to the law in WA have made it easier for some people to apply for a VRO.
You can now apply online for a VRO through an approved legal service provider.
You are still able to apply for a VRO in person at court, subject to COVID-19 restrictions, or by fax.
Changes in place during the COVID-19 pandemic may also make it easier for the police to serve the respondent if an interim order is made. Put as many contact details in your application as possible about the respondent, for example, their address, phone number and also their date of birth and the correct spelling of their name.
What happens after I lodge my application?
Some courts in WA have different processes for getting a VRO, due to COVID-19 and other reasons. If you are not sure, ask your legal service provider or check with the court where your case will be heard.
If you lodge online you can select a hearing time. If you have an urgent need for an earlier hearing time than is available online, you or your legal service provider will have to ring the court to see if an earlier hearing time is possible.
During the COVID-19 pandemic if you need to appear by phone ask for this in your application and explain why. You or your legal service provider will need to check with the court if your request is granted.
The court process after you lodge your application stays the same as now except for any changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For, example, you may need to check if you can still bring a support person with you to court for an in person first hearing. You might need to lodge documents electronically and attend court by phone or video.
If you are appearing by phone, make sure you have a quiet and safe space when the court rings you. It is preferable your children are not around during the hearing so they don’t hear what is talked about.
How do I find an approved legal service provider to help me lodge an online application?
Contact Victims of Crime,Department of Justice on (08) 9425 2973 during business hours. Some community legal centres may also be able to assist you but please note some can only help with family violence restraining orders. Legal Aid WA's Civil Law Division can also give legal advice about VROs.
Last reviewed: 12 May 2020