Interstate and overseas restraining orders

You might have a restraining order from interstate or overseas and are not sure if it will protect you in Western Australia. You might be going interstate and wonder if your restraining order will protect you.

Australia now has a system that allows for restraining orders about family violence to be enforced across Australia, without having to register the order in each individual state and territory. This system is called the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme ('the National Scheme').

All restraining orders made after 25 November 2017 to help protect someone from family violence, automatically applies across Australia as soon as the order comes into force. This includes interim and final family violence restraining orders (FVROs), as well as restraining orders made by the police, regardless of where in Australia the order was made or what the order is called.

If you have a restraining order relating to family violence made in one of the countries set out below you may be able to apply to have it registered and enforced in Western Australia. You can then apply to have it recognised across Australia.

This page also has information about how to register restraining orders made interstate or from certain overseas countries which have been made between people who are not family.

How does the National Scheme work?

With the National Scheme, restraining orders made from 25 November 2017 to protect someone from family violence are automatically given national recognition.

After the order comes into force (normally when it is served on the respondent), it can be enforced throughout Australia without you needing to do anything else. This gives you better protection and makes it easier for local police and courts to deal with offences where you and the person bound are located in different states. 

In Western Australia restraining orders about family violence are called family violence restraining orders (FVROs). Any nationally recognised order about family violence is treated as if it were an FVRO. The conditions and duration of the order remain the same as the original order. If the person bound by the recognised order breaches it in WA, they can be charged by the police and dealt with by the courts as if they had just breached an FVRO. 

If your order is not automatically recognised, you can apply to a court to have it recognised under the National Scheme. You can find information on how to do this on the Magistrates Court of WA website and the Children’s Court of WA website.

Can a nationally recognised order be varied or cancelled in WA?

A nationally recognised order can be varied or cancelled by a court in WA. If a nationally recognised order is varied, the change takes effect in every state and territory once the person bound by the order has been served with a copy of the varied order.

Which overseas family violence related restraining orders can be registered in WA?

Restraining orders about family violence made in the following countries can be registered in Western Australia:

  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • the United Kingdom.

Once registered, the foreign restraining order can be enforced in WA as if it were an FVRO.

If a restraining order about family violence was made in one of these countries you can apply to have it recognised under the National Scheme.

Can you register other types of restraining orders in Western Australia?

If you have a restraining order that was made in another state or territory, or one of the countries listed above, which is not about family violence, you can still apply to have it registered in WA. For example, it may relate to personal violence.

In Western Australia restraining orders involving personal violence between people who are not family are called violence restraining orders (VROs). Once registered, the restraining order will be enforced in WA as if it were a VRO.

You can apply to register your restraining order by submitting an application form and affidavit in support at any Magistrates Court in WA. The police can also apply for you. The court will set a hearing date for you to come to court. The person bound by the order will not be told about the hearing and does not need to be told the order has been registered in WA.

Once registered, the order can also be varied or cancelled by a court in WA.

You will need to apply to register the order in each state or territory where you want the order to be in force. Only restraining orders relating to family violence can be nationally recognised.

More information

  • Australian Attorney-General's Department: you can find avideo about the National Scheme, as well as information in multiple languages and details of websites for each state and territory.
  • Magistrates Court of WA: you can find fact sheets and application forms to have restraining orders recognised or varied under the National Scheme and the form to register foreign orders.
  • Children's Court of WA: you can find application forms to have restraining orders against children under 18 recognised or varied under the National Scheme.

 

Reviewed: 27 September 2023

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.