Keeping kids safe - Interim FVROs

Logo for FRVO self-help guideIf you are leaving an abusive relationship, it's best to take your children with you if you can do so safely.

If you are applying for a Family Violence Restraining Order and your children have seen, heard or experienced family violence, you can ask the court for your FVRO to also cover your children. 

Being exposed to family violence includes hearing death threats or threats to injure someone, seeing an assault, helping a person who has been assaulted and being present when police or ambulance officers come to a violent incident.

How can I get my FVRO to cover my children?

If you are applying for an FVRO to protect you from a family member, you need to ask the court to include your children on your FVRO. You will also need to show the court that either:

  • the children have been exposed to family violence and they are likely to be exposed again, or
  • there are reasonable grounds to fear the children will be exposed to family violence.

If the court is satisfied of these things, the court must make an order unless there are special circumstances that would make the order inappropriate. Special circumstances do not exist simply because you can or have or the respondent (the person you want to be bound by the restraining order) can apply, or have applied, for a family order. 

Can I make a separate application for an FVRO to cover my children?

You can also apply for an FVRO for your children on a separate application form. You may need to do this if you already have an FVRO against the respondent, but it does not cover your children.

You will need to show the same things about your children being exposed to family violence as if you had included your children in your application. 

What if there are existing Family Court orders?

When you apply for an FVRO you need to tell the court if you have existing Family Court orders for your children. You should also get urgent legal advice about how the FVRO may affect the Family Court orders.

The court may be able to make an FVRO protecting your children and temporarily suspend, cancel or change a Family Court order. 

However, many magistrates in restraining order proceedings won’t suspend or cancel or change other Family Court orders. If there is a Family Court order allowing a child to spend time with a person, but other restraining order conditions preventing that person from being around or communicating with the child, the Family Court order will apply (or “prevail”) to the extent of the inconsistency.

Starting Family Court proceedings

If you are experiencing family violence, you may be able to apply for parenting orders in the Family Court without going through Family Dispute Resolution.

You should see a lawyer to get legal advice about whether you need Family Court orders in your situation.

Child protection Children's Court proceedings

If you have a child protection Children's Court case, a magistrate can make an interim FVRO against a party in the case or someone who gives evidence in the case.


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.