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What orders can be made by the court?

Temporary protection orders

A temporary protection order aims to give you protection from domestic violence until your application is decided by the magistrate. Temporary protection orders are given if you are in a relationship covered by the law (see Who does the law protect?) and domestic violence has been committed.

Even if the respondent doesn’t know you are applying for a domestic violence order, the magistrate can still make a temporary protection order. To make a temporary protection order, the magistrate must be satisfied there has been an act of domestic violence and there is a relevant relationship between you and the respondent.

Final protection orders

A final protection order usually lasts for five years. It can be made:

  • if the respondent agrees to the order being made or
  • if the respondent doesn’t turn up or participate in the court process after being served or
  • after a contested hearing in a court.

Domestic violence order conditions

Domestic violence orders automatically include a condition 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 magistrate must consider your safety and your children’s safety when deciding whether to add other conditions to the order.

Other conditions that may be included in a domestic violence order are:

  • 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 type 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 give 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)—if you are pregnant, this includes your child once they are born
  • stopping the respondent from going to places where your children frequently visit, like their school or kindy
  • stopping the respondent from having contact with you or other people named on the order—this means the respondent cannot call you, write to you, send you text messages or visit you.

You can ask the magistrate to make an exception to the extra conditions if you want to attend mediation with the respondent, or allow your children to spend time with the respondent.

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 lived there together. This is known as an ‘ouster’ condition. If the magistrate makes an ouster condition, they must also consider allowing the respondent to return to the residence to get their belongings. The police can supervise the respondent collecting their belongings.

Intervention orders

If a magistrate makes or changes a domestic violence order, they can also make an intervention order requiring the respondent to attend a behaviour change program. A behaviour change program is usually an 8 to 12-week program with counselling that tries to change the respondent’s behaviour. This order can only be made if the respondent is in the court, agrees to the intervention order being made or changed, and agrees to follow the intervention order.

Consent orders

Consent orders can be made if the respondent agrees to your application for a domestic violence order (or agrees to change an existing domestic violence order). The respondent does not have to admit to the facts you have 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 magistrate will consider your safety, your children’s safety and the safety of anyone else named in your application when deciding whether to make consent orders.

If the respondent is under 18, they may not be able to agree to a domestic violence order. You should get legal advice if this applies to your situation.

If a police officer is acting for you, the magistrate can only make a consent order if they are sure you also consent to the order being made.

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

The magistrate must consider any family law or child protection orders you have before deciding to make or change a domestic violence order. If you have a family law order or child protection order about your children, or if you have proceedings in the family law courts or Childrens Court about your children, you must tell the magistrate, attach a copy of the orders to your domestic violence order application or give a copy to the magistrate.

A magistrate must consider changing your family law order if the conditions in the order:

  • conflict with conditions in your domestic violence order and
  • 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 change the family law order to make the collection point away from where you live. The magistrate can also cancel or suspend your existing parenting order if they are satisfied it would be unsafe for you or the children to continue spending time with the respondent.

If you have a domestic violence order and you have family law court proceedings or Childrens Court proceedings, you must tell these courts about your domestic violence order.

Can a magistrate make a domestic violence order even if they have not received an application for one?

Yes. Sometimes a magistrate can make a domestic violence order against someone even though the aggrieved has not applied for one. This can happen if a magistrate convicts a person of an offence involving an act of domestic violence. To make an order, the magistrate would have to be satisfied the people involved were in a relationship covered by the law (see page 8), an act of domestic violence has occurred, and a domestic violence 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 magistrate could change the order by including extra conditions or by changing the domestic violence order length to protect the aggrieved. In both situations, the magistrate still has to allow the people involved to say what they think about the order being made.

The Childrens Court

The Childrens Court magistrate can make or change a domestic violence order to protect a parent when a child protection order application has been made.

The magistrate can make a domestic violence order on their own initiative based on the information before the court, or because one of the parties has made a domestic violence order application. The magistrate has to allow the people involved to say what they think about the domestic violence order being made.

Last updated 7 April 2021

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