Fixing a broken system – introducing the Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”)

Fixing a broken system – introducing the Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”)

Fixing a broken system – introducing the Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”)

Most of us take for granted the safe, nurturing environment we like to call home. For an increasing number of Australians, this is not the case and they suffer the enduring trauma of domestic violence or abuse.

Restraining orders give victims of violence a tool to keep their abusers away or at least offer them a little more protection by police if they come close. In July 2013, then Attorney General, the Hon Michael Mischin MLC referenced a review by the Law Reform Commission to the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA). He recognised the need for separate legislation that only deals with family and domestic violence.

Fast forward four years and we now have the amendments to the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA) and in particular the Introduction of Family Violence Restraining Orders.

Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, Children and other wider family members, including Grandparents, Cousins, Uncles and Aunties all have provision to apply for a FVRO.

If parties are in a family relationship, then a traditional VRO is no longer available to them. Instead, a person who seeks to be protected needs to apply for an FVRO.

There are many things the Court is required to consider before making a FVRO including that the Respondent has committed family violence or may commit family violence in the future.

There are many examples of family violence, such as assault, sexual assault, stalking including cyber stalking, publishing damaging material, damaging or destroying property and causing injury, or even death, to an animal that belongs to the family member or threats to do any of the above.

The abuse can also be in denying the family member financial autonomy such as withholding the financial support needed to meet reasonable living expenses including the expenses of a dependent child.

“It wasn’t me” doesn’t cut it anymore. If a person solicits another person to carry out an act of family violence, the person is taken to also have committed the act of family violence and will still be subject to the FVRO.

The options available under FVROs include extra police protection, and an agreement called a Conduct Agreement which unlike the previous Undertakings offered under a VRO, can be enforced in the same manner as an actual FVRO.

If you are confused by the changes to the legislation surrounding restraining orders, Butlers Lawyers are here to help you. If you would like further information or advice, please contact us on (08) 9386 5200 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Thursday, 21 March 2019