COVID-19: Changes to the ways you can apply for an FVRO
If you are at risk of family violence, it is very important to think about the safety of you and your children, in deciding what to do next.
There are a range of possible options to help protect you, including getting a Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO). A lawyer can help you to decide what to do next.
What are the changes to the ways you can apply for an FVRO?
Recent changes to the law in WA have made it easier for some people to apply for an FVRO.
If you have a Family Court case or a child protection case in the Children’s Court, you can now ask for an FVRO to be made without the person you want the order against, the respondent, being present.
You can now also apply online for an FVRO through an approved legal service provider.
You are still able to apply for an FVRO in person 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 an FVRO, 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 a legal service provider to help me lodge an online application?
Legal Aid WA can lodge your online FVRO application and help with safety planning.
You can also ask if Legal Aid WA can help with the next steps in applying for your FVRO. Other approved legal service providers include community legal centres, Marninwarntikura Family Violence Prevention and Legal Unit, Albany Family Violence Prevention Legal Service and Aboriginal Family Law Services.
Contact the Legal Aid WA Infoline or webchat for information and referral to services.
Last reviewed: 13 May 2020