Protection Orders

If you are concerned about your safety you should consider applying for a protection order. There are two types of orders: a Family Violence Order (FVO) or a Personal Protection Order (PPO). A FVO may be granted  for a period of up to two years and a PPO, for a period up to 12 months.

What is a protection order?

A protection order is an order of the court setting conditions that a person must abide by. These conditions can prevent the person from contacting or approaching, causing or threatening to cause personal injury, and prohibits them from being harassing, intimidating or behaving in an offensive manner towards you.

You can also ask for the order to exclude the person from your home or workplace or for property to be returned to you. The terms of the order should relate to the particular need for protection.

If the situation is urgent, an interim (temporary) family violence order may be granted by a Magistrate on the same day the application is lodged.

A person can seek free, confidential legal advice (and assistance with an application) at the ACT Magistrates Court from Legal Aid ACT.

Contact details:

(02) 6207 1874

1300 654 314

Further, Legal Aid ACT operate a walk-in service out of the ACT Magistrates Court every business day from about 9am which people considering an application can attend without an appointment.

How to apply for a Family Violence Order

You can apply for a protection order by lodging an application at the ACT Magistrates Court, or with the help of the free Legal Aid service at the court, or with your own solicitor. This is separate to any police investigation. 

Family Violence Order application process

Step 1 – Complete the application forms 

Complete the three forms that are listed under the heading of 'Family Violence Orders' on the ACT Magistrates Court website. 

Hard copies of the forms are available at the Registry Counters inside the main foyer of the ACT Magistrates Court.

Step 2 – File the application

All three forms need to be lodged at the Registry Counter inside the main foyer of the ACT Magistrates Court. They cannot be submitted online.

You must submit all documents before 11.30am if you want the application to be heard that day.

Step 3 – Appear before the Registrar

You need to appear before the Registrar for the interim hearing, to tell the registrar about the family violence occurring and why you need an order. When called you will be required to go into a courtroom, you can take a support person with you if you wish.

Step 4 – Decision

After explaining your situation, the Registrar will tell you whether or not they are going to give you a protection order.

Step 5 – If issued

The applicant and the respondent will be provided a date to return to court for the ‘Return Conference’. At this conference a mediator will try and have the applicant and respondent agree on the terms of the order. If this can be done then the order will be made final. If no agreement can be reached then the mediator will list the matter for hearing to be heard in front of a Magistrate. The hearings are often eight weeks or longer after the Return Conference.

On average people can expect to be at court until approximately 2pm to go through the whole application process.

Step 6 – Service of the order

The court will give a copy of the application and the interim order to the police who will go and serve the respondent with these documents.

The interim order is only in force once it has been served on the respondent. When the order is served the applicant will receive an SMS to confirm service.

Other agencies

For those people who require assistance with orders but may not want police involved, you can contact Legal Aid or Domestic Violence Crisis Service.

Legal Aid – 6207 1874

Domestic Violence Crisis Service – 6280 6999

Both organisations have staff located in the ACT Magistrates Court to assist people through the FVO process.

Visit the ACT Magistrates Court website for more information and a short video explaining the FVO process.

Breaches of protection orders

If a person refuses to comply with the terms outlined in an order that has been served on them, they are breaching the order.

This is a criminal offence. If this occurs, report it to police as soon as you can on 131 444.

Call  Triple Zero (000) if it is an emergency or life threatening situation.

Also keep a record of information such as date, time, location and details of conversations, as well as text messages, emails and a phone log history. Keep the order with you, as this will assist police when they respond to an incident.

National Domestic Violence Order Scheme

The National Domestic Violence Order Scheme strengthens protections for victims and their families.

All family violence orders issued from 25 November 2017 are now automatically nationally recognised and enforceable in all Australian states and territories. You no longer need to apply to register your Family Violence Order (FVO – sometimes known as a DVO) in another state or territory of Australia for it to be enforceable. If you have current FVO that was issued in another state before 25 November 2017, it can become nationally recognised by applying to the court. If you have a current FVO that was issued in the ACT before 25 November 2017, contact the ACT Policing Family Violence Coordination Unit or the ACT Magistrates Court for advice regarding national recognition of the order.

ACT Policing Online News

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