Common questions - Interim FVROs

Logo for FRVO self-help guideApplying for an FVRO or going to court might be something you have never experienced before. 

You may have lots of questions about how it works and what happens after you file your application with the court.

This page will hopefully answer some of the questions you have about the process.

Will my interim FVRO application be heard on the day I apply?

For applications made to a Magistrates Court, it will depend on what that court does. For some courts, you will be able to get a hearing on the same day you file your application. Some Magistrates Courts do not sit every day, and some courts have set days for hearing FVRO applications. 

If you file your application at the Perth Children’s Court before 3.00 pm, it can be heard on the same day. If you apply to other metropolitan Children's Courts, your application might be heard on the same day depending on what that court does. Otherwise, the application will be sent to the Perth Children's Court.

Will I have a lawyer at court?

A Legal Aid WA duty lawyer may be able to help with your interim FVRO application at some Magistrates Courts but cannot help with a final order hearing. 

If want to make an online application you can only do this through an approved legal service provider. These providers include Legal Aid WA, community legal centres, Aboriginal Family Legal Services and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.

A Legal Aid WA duty lawyer may be able to help you with your application at Perth Children’s Court or may refer you to a service that can.   

Who will be in court when I apply for an interim FVRO?

At your interim FVRO hearing, the court will be closed. The only people allowed to come in with you are a lawyer and your support people. The magistrate, the judicial support officer and a court orderly will also be in the court room. These are also the only people present if your first hearing is by phone or video.

Will the Respondent know about my FVRO application?

If you ask for the application to be heard in the absence of the Respondent and the court agrees with to do this, the court will not tell the Respondent until after your application has been heard. 

When will the Respondent know about my FVRO application?

If an interim FVRO is made, it will be given to (served on) the Respondent as soon as the police can locate the Respondent.  

If an interim FVRO is not made and you continue with your application, the court will set a hearing date and summons the Respondent to come to court.

Will the court tell the Respondent my address?

The court will not give your address to the Respondent. (The Respondent might already know your address from other sources.)  

The Respondent can request a copy of the transcript of what was said at the interim FVRO hearing from the court, as well as a copy of your application and affidavit. Make sure you do not say your address aloud during your hearing and try to avoid writing it in your affidavit.

Can I reapply if I don't get an interim FVRO?

Yes, you can reapply for an interim FVRO if there is another incident of family violence.

How old do I have to be to apply for an FVRO?

If you are 16 years or older, you can apply for an FVRO by yourself. 

A parent, guardian, child protection worker or the police can also apply for you if you are under 18 years old.

What costs are involved?

It does not cost anything to apply for an FVRO.

If the court grants you a final FVRO, you can ask for legal costs against the Respondent. These can include the costs of your lawyer, summonses, witnesses, medical and police reports, and photocopying. You must be able to show the court receipts for these expenses before you can claim them as legal costs.

If you are not given an FVRO at a final order hearing, the Respondent may ask that you pay their legal costs. A costs order will not be made against you unless the magistrate thinks your application was without merit or was made for reasons that were not genuine.

What if I need an interpreter?

If you know that you will need an interpreter when you go to court, you should contact the court ahead of your hearing to ask the court to arrange one. The court will need to know your hearing date and the specific language you speak.

This interpreter will then be available on the morning of your court appearance and can help you in court.

If you apply for an interim FVRO at short notice, the court can try to arrange an interpreter on the day your application is heard.

When will the FVRO start to work?

An interim order starts when it is given to (served on) the Respondent by the police. If an interim order is made, it will be served by the police as soon as they can locate the Respondent.

If the court makes a final order at a hearing, the final order comes into operation when it is:

  • made by the court, if the Respondent is present at the hearing, or
  • given to the Respondent by the police.

Sometimes a specific starting date is set out in a final order. A final order made at a court hearing must still be given to the Respondent for the FVRO to start, unless the Respondent is in court when the order is made.

If an interim order automatically becomes a final order (for example, because the Respondent does not lodge an objection), the final order comes into operation straight away.

What if I have experienced family violence and am applying for permanent residency?

There are special rules about how your application for permanent residency is processed if you, or a family member, have experienced family violence from your former partner. The family violence rules mean that you can leave an abusive relationship without losing the ability to get permanent residency.

You can read more about Immigration status and family violence.

What if I have experienced family violence and want to make changes in my tenancy?

There are laws to help tenants who have experienced family violence. They provide options to leave the tenancy easily or to stay more safely in the tenancy, and to hold people who commit family violence liable for costs and damages in shared tenancies. Contact Circle Green Community Legal to get legal advice on your options.

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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.