Main Content Anchor

What orders can be made by the court?

Temporary protection orders

A temporary protection order aims to provide you with protection from domestic violence until your application is decided by the court. Temporary protection orders are granted if you are in a relationship covered by the law (see pages six and seven) and domestic violence has been committed.

If the respondent doesn’t know you are applying for a domestic violence order, the court can still make a temporary protection order. To make a temporary protection order, the court must be satisfied the order is necessary or desirable to protect you, your children or the other people named in your application.

Final protection orders

Final protection orders usually continue for five years. They can be made: 

  • after there has been a hearing in a court (where all the parties give their side of the story), or 
  • if the parties agree to the order being made, or 
  • if the respondent doesn’t turn up or participate in the court process.

Conditions on your domestic violence order

Domestic violence orders automatically say that the respondent must be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence against you, your children and any other people named on your order.

You can also ask for other conditions on the domestic violence order. The court has to consider your safety and your children’s safety when deciding whether to add other conditions to the order.

Other conditions that could be included in a domestic violence order include:

  • Stopping the respondent from going to where you live or work, or within a certain distance of where you live or work.
  • Stopping the respondent from living with you. Get legal advice before asking for this sort of order.
  • Stopping the respondent from trying to locate you, for example, stopping them from contacting your family, friends or a place where you are staying (like a refuge or shelter).
  • Making the respondent return personal property to you or giving you access to the house you used to live in so you can get your belongings.
  • Stopping the respondent from behaving in a particular way towards your children (or children who usually live with you).
  • Stopping the respondent from going to places where your children frequently visit, like their school or kindy.
  • Protecting your unborn child and including them on the order when they are born.
  • Stopping the respondent from having contact with you or other people named on the order. This means the respondent cannot telephone you, write to you or come within a certain distance of you. You can ask the magistrate to make an exception if you think you will want counselling or want to attend mediation with the respondent in the future.

In some circumstances it is possible for the court to stop the respondent coming back to where you live, or to remove them from where you live, even if you have both lived there together. This is known as an ‘ouster’ condition. If the court makes an ouster condition it has to also consider allowing the respondent to return to the residence to get their belongings. This process can be supervised by the police.

Intervention orders

If a court makes or varies a domestic violence order it can also make an intervention order requiring the respondent to attend an intervention program, perpetrators’ program or counselling to address their behaviour. This order can only be made if the respondent is present in the court, agrees to the intervention order being made or varied, and agrees to comply. You should get legal advice about this type of order.

Consent orders

Consent orders can be made if the respondent agrees to your application for a domestic violence order (or agrees to vary an existing domestic violence order). The respondent does not have to admit to the facts you’ve included in the application, or agree with your side of the story, for the court to make consent orders - this is known as “consent without admission”. The court will take into account your safety, your children’s safety and the safety of anyone else named in your application when considering whether to make consent orders.

This may not apply if the respondent is under 18 years of age. You should get legal advice if this applies to your situation.

If a police officer is acting on your behalf, the court can only make a consent order if it is sure that you consent to the order being made.

Will my domestic violence order affect my existing family law orders?

The magistrate must consider any family law orders you have before deciding to make or vary a domestic violence order. If you have a family law order about your children, or if you have proceedings in the family law courts about your children, you must: 

  • tell the magistrate 
  • attach a copy of the order to your application for a domestic violence order, or 
  • give a copy to the magistrate.

A magistrate must consider changing your family law order if: 

  • the conditions in the order are in conflict with conditions in your domestic violence order, and 
  • the conditions in the order could make you, your children or anyone else named in your domestic violence application unsafe. 

For example, if your family law order allows the respondent to come to your home to collect your children and these visits lead to verbal abuse, threats or any other act of domestic violence, the magistrate can vary the family law order to make the collection point away from where you live. The magistrate can also discharge or suspend your existing parenting order if they are satisfied it would be unsafe for you or for the children to continue spending time with the respondent.

If you have a domestic violence order and you later apply to a family law court for a parenting order or an order about your children, you must tell the court about the domestic violence order.

If there are any differences between a parenting order and a domestic violence order, the parenting order overrides the domestic violence order. 

Can a court make a domestic violence order even if it hasn’t received an application for one?

Yes. Sometimes a court can make a domestic violence order against someone even though the aggrieved has not applied for one. This can happen if a court convicts a person of an offence involving domestic violence. To make an order, the court would have to be satisfied that the people involved were in a relationship covered by the law (see Who does the law protect?),  that domestic violence had occurred and that an order is necessary or desirable to protect the aggrieved.

If there was already a domestic violence order in place when the offence was committed, the court could vary that order including by changing its length to protect the aggrieved. 

In both situations, the court still has to allow the people involved to say what they think about the order being made.

The Childrens Court

The Childrens Court can make a domestic violence order if it is hearing an application for a child protection order. The court can make a domestic violence order against a parent or it could vary a domestic violence order already in place.

The Childrens Court can make a domestic violence order on its own motion, or because one of the parties to the child protection application has made a domestic violence order application. Again, the court has to allow the people affected by the order to say what they think about the order being made.

Back to top