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Are you currently experiencing violence or threats of violence in the form of physical, financial, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse? Domestic violence cases are one of the most traumatic and terrifying experiences, that often feels like you’re suffering in silence. But you don’t have to endure it all alone.

A VRO is a court order designed to protect victims of personal violence and abuse by preventing the abuser from coming to or near where you live or work, keep them at a certain distance and stop them from acting in a way to make you feel afraid and unsafe.

How To Get A Violence Restraining Order In WA?

Obtaining a VRO requires you to submit an application through the Magistrate Courts and satisfy two factors.

  • You will need to satisfy two factors in order for your application to be approved, which includes proving that the respondent has acted violently towards you, and
  • that it is not unreasonable that the respondent is going to act violently towards you in the future.

Are you currently receiving threats, experiencing violence, or emotional abuse? Speak with a Violence Restraining Order Lawyer at Paterson & Dowding for expert legal advice on how to apply for a VRO.

We can assist you with:

  • Preparing documents required for a VRO Application
  • Initiating court proceedings for a Violence Restraining Order or Misconduct Restraining Order Application
  • Help build your case for an interim court hearing
  • Provide immediate support and advice on what to do next

A Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) has been designed to protect you from violence and threats of violence, or any other behaviour that causes you to feel threatened, coerced, or afraid and fearful. A FVRO can be obtained against a person you share a family or domestic relationship with, including a spouse, de facto partner or relative.

Grounds For A Family Violence Restraining Order

Applications for FVRO must be made in person at the Magistrate Courts in Western Australia. In the eyes of the court, the main concern is that you are protected against the respondent, if it is needed. For protection, you will need to satisfy two factors:

  • The respondent has committed family violence against you and is likely to commit family violence again.
  • It is not unreasonable that you have good reason to assume the respondent will commit family violence in the future.

Are you currently experiencing domestic abuse or at the risk of family violence? Speak with a Family Violence Lawyer at Paterson & Dowding for expert legal advice on how to apply for a FVRO and protect you and your family’s well being.

Acts which are considered domestic violence which may warrant a FVRO include some of the following:

  • Assault (including physical, verbal, emotional and sexual assault);
  • Damaging or threatening to damage property;
  • Preventing contact and communication with friends and family;
  • Repeatedly sending or causing the sending of unwanted and/or offensive text messages;
  • Sharing or threatening to share intimate images of another person (including revenge porn);
  • Detaining a person against their will;
  • Financial control;
  • Causing death or injury or threatening to cause death or injury to pets; and
  • Stalking or cyberstalking.

If you are served with a restraining order in Perth and you are contesting a VRO or FVRO, you have 21 days to do so. If you intend to object to a restraining order, you will need a legal professional to help. Equip yourself with a Paterson & Dowding VRO lawyer in Perth to give yourself the best chance to object to the order.

What You Should Do If You Are Served With A VRO Or FVRO

  1. Consult a Paterson & Dowding lawyer
  2. Consider and discuss if you should object
  3. Ask for a transcript of the interim hearing


If you feel you are in immediate danger you should skip seeing a lawyer and instead call the police. The police can issue 24-72 hour police orders to give you temporary safety. Once you have made the police order, you should get in contact with Paterson & Dowding so we can arrange your next steps.

Speak with a Domestic Violence Lawyer today


If you have to go through a VRO, it is likely to be one of the most stressful periods of your life, but it can be straightforward and less stressful with the right legal advice and strategy. Book your free 15 minute consultation with our family and VRO lawyers to discuss your current situation and find out your next best steps.


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The law can be confusing, especially when you have never dealt with it before. Rest assured, we are here to answer your frequently asked questions regarding family law.

You can apply for an interim hearing that usually happens on the same date you submit your VRO application. This puts in place personal protection orders, a sort of temporary restraining order, for 21 days in a closed court where the respondent does not have to attend.

Restraining Orders are obtained by application in person at any Magistrate Court location.

Upon attending Court, you will be asked to complete the relevant application form and once completed, you will be required to present your evidence immediately before a Magistrate in the absence of the Person whom you seek to be bound by the Restraining Order (Ex-Parte Hearing).

In the event the Restraining Order is granted, the Magistrates will arrange for it to be served on the Person Bound.

Should the Magistrate not be satisfied that a Restraining Order is required in your circumstances, they will issue a summons to the Person Bound to present their evidence and until that evidence is provided, you will not have the protection of the Restraining Order.

When served, you will be provided the opportunity (21 days) to object to the Restraining Order being made final.

In the event you object, you and the Person protected will be summonsed to attend a Final Order Hearing.

In the event you are granted an Restraining Order at the Ex-Parte Hearing, that Order is made on an interim basis only, that being until the evidence of you and the other persons evidence is tested at a Final Order Hearing.

Should it be determined at the Final Order Hearing that a Restraining Order is required in the circumstances of your matter, they will make the Restraining Order on a final basis. Restraining Orders made on a final basis generally last for 2 years, but in some circumstances can be made for a longer period.

A Restraining Order in its own right does not appear on your criminal record. There is however, the stigma of society relating to a person bound by a Restraining Order.

Once you have completed the application form at the Magistrates Court, you will be referred to the Courtroom of an available Magistrate to present your evidence under oath or affirmation. Otherwise, you will be provided with a date upon which to return to the Court to give your evidence.

This first hearing is heard in the absence of the person you are seeking to be restrained.

If you satisfy the Magistrate as to the grounds for a FVRO, you will be granted an Interim FVRO. The restrained person will be served a copy of the order and may elect to accept the FVRO being made final, or object to it.

A restrained person may consent by filling out the consent form at the back of the FVRO and returning it to the Court. If made final, the FVRO will be in place for a period of 24 months from the date the Interim FVRO was made.

The restrained person may object to the order, by filling out the objection form at the back of the FVRO and return it to the Court within 21 days of being served the FVRO. The parties will then be summonsed to attend a Final Order hearing.

If you are unable to satisfy the Magistrate as to the grounds of the FVRO at the first hearing, you will not be granted an Interim FVRO and the matter will be adjourned to a further date, so that the Magistrate can hear the other party’s evidence.

Applications for a Violence Restraining Order must be made in person at a Magistrates Court in Western Australia by filling out a form.

You can access that form here

If you urgently need a FVRO, or it is not practical to apply in person at the court or online through an approved legal service provider, a police officer can help you to apply for a FVRO over the telephone.

Our lawyers can help you apply online if you cannot attend at court.

The standard term of a final FVRO is 24 months from the date the interim FVRO was made. The duration of the FVRO may be longer if the restrained person is a prisoner at the time the FVRO becomes final.

Restraining orders relating to family violence can be nationally recognised and enforced by police and the courts anywhere in Australia.

An existing family violence order will automatically apply across Australia if it was made –

  • on or after 25 November 2017 (in any Australian state or territory, including WA)
  • or varied in a Victorian court (on any date), or
  • in New Zealand and registered in Victoria (on any date).

If your existing order is not automatically enforceable in WA, you can apply for national recognition. We can assist you with this.

The police will serve the interim FVRO on the respondent. Once it is served on the respondent, the interim FVRO can be enforced by the police and the court.

It usually takes 24-48 hours for the police to serve a FVRO, however, this depends on the circumstances and you should check with the police if you are concerned about any delay in service.

Once served, the respondent has 21 days to object to a final FVRO being made.

If you do something that FVRO says you can’t do, you will be “breaching” the order.

For example, if the FVRO says that you are not allowed to communicate with the applicant, you must not:

  • visit or approach the applicant;
  • call or text the applicant;
  • send letters, notes, cards or presents to the applicant;
  • post messages on social media to or about the applicant; or
  • send messages to the applicant through other people, including friends, family or children.

If unsure, book a free 15 minute Q&A with one of our lawyers here

A FVRO and Conduct Agreement does not appear on a criminal record, unless those orders are breached. The conviction of the breach will appear on a criminal record.

The penalty for a breach of FVRO or Conduct Agreement Order can range from a fine, up to imprisonment. The extent of the penalty is dependent on the severity of the breach and the accused persons prior criminal history, including previous breaches of a FVRO or Conduct Agreement Order.

A breach of an Undertaking will not result in any criminal charges. It will however, serve as a strong basis for the granting of a further interim FVRO to the protected person.

1. Objecting to a FVRO
If you have been served with an interim FVRO, you have 21 days to object to the application.

It is important to remember that even if an objection is received, the interim FVRO stays in place until it is replaced by a final FVRO or cancelled by the Court.

You should also consider contacting the Court to request copies of the applicant’s affidavit and the transcript from the hearing in which he/she obtained the interim FVRO

2. The court hearing
Once you have lodged your objection, the Court will write to you listing your case for a hearing.

In some Courts there is a mention hearing before a date is set for the final hearing. In other courts, the first hearing will be the final hearing and it is important to be prepared for a trial. Your witnesses will also need to be able to attend for the final hearing.

3. Options to Settle
If you wish to resolve the court proceedings without a contested trial, then you may propose that the dispute be resolved by either a Conduct Agreement Order or by way of an Undertaking.

A Conduct Agreement Order is an order that results from the restrained person accepting the FVRO on a final basis, but they do not admit to any of the allegations made in support of the protected person’s application.

An Undertaking is a documented promise that the restrained person (or both parties) will not engage in certain negative behaviours and/or that they will not come within a certain distance of the other party.

Attend a Paterson & Dowding Violence Restraining Order Q&A, register on Eventbrite for the next one or email

If the person to be protected by the FVRO is a child, you can apply to the Children’s Court or the Magistrates Court.

If you want a FVRO against a child or person under 18 years old, you must apply to the Children’s Court. A restraining order cannot be made against a child less than 10 years of age.

It may do. A FVRO can be made to protect a child. You must read the restraining order carefully as the court may have included conditions about what contact you can have with their children.


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