Violence Restraining Orders (VROs)
You can apply to the court for a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) against someone who is not a family member if you need protection because of the risk of personal violence. The court can also make a VRO to protect children from being exposed to personal violence.
A VRO makes it unlawful for a person to do certain things, in order to try and stop them from committing acts of personal violence or exposing a child to personal violence.
- when the court can make a VRO
- what restrictions can be included in a VRO, and
- what you need to do if you have a VRO against a family member.
If you need a restraining order against a family member, you can apply for a Family Violence Restraining Order. You can only apply for a VRO if you are not in a family relationship with the other person.
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 an 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.
You can now apply to vary this type of VRO against a family member made before 1 July 2017 to an FVRO.
Changing it to an FVRO might make it easier for you to make changes to your existing order including asking to have the order extended. Otherwise you should get legal advice about how to make changes or get the order extended.
Reviewed: 1 May 2020