If someone is being violent or threatening towards you, or is acting in an inappropriate manner that makes you feel scared and unsafe, you have the option of taking a restraining order out against them.
What is a restraining order?
A restraining order is a civil order made by the court that gives a criminal consequence to certain behaviours that may not usually be criminal offences. This helps to protect you from not only violent acts, but also from things like harassment, repeated offensive comments, and stalking or cyber-stalking. Breaching a restraining order is a criminal offence, and breaching a restraining order three times means the person will be sent to prison.
There are three types of restraining orders in WA: Family Violence Restraining Orders (FVRO), Violence Restraining Orders (VRO) and Misconduct Restraining Orders (MRO). They all have differences that you should know about before applying.
Family Violence Restraining Orders
FVROs are a relatively new category of restraining orders that was introduced by WA Parliament in 2017. It is aimed at providing more protections for victims of family violence. If the person that is committing violence against you or is making you feel unsafe is a family member, you should apply for an FVRO.
A family member can be your former or current spouse, de facto partner, any relative (including children, parents, grandparents, step-family and all other relatives related by blood, marriage or de facto partnership), and any other person that you have had an intimate relationship with.
For an FVRO to be ordered by the court, there must be some form of family violence. This can include a situation where a family member is acting violent towards you, or is threatening to be violent. It can also include a situation where a family member is trying to control you, coerce you into doing something you don’t want to do, or is acting in a way that makes you feel scared and unsafe. The violence doesn’t have to be physical abuse. It can be emotional, psychological or financial abuse as well.
For example, let’s say you have recently separated from your emotionally abusive partner who had been constantly saying insulting things towards you, and your ex-partner is now constantly harassing you about the separation to the point that you feel unsafe and scared. You should then consider getting an FVRO out against him, because it will then become illegal for your ex-partner to harass you. If your ex-partner keeps harassing you, then he/she will be in breach of the FVRO and will have to face criminal consequences.
Violence Restraining Orders
If the person that is committing violence against you or is making you feel unsafe is not a family member, then you should apply for a VRO.
A VRO is very similar to a FVRO, but can only be ordered where the person being violent or inappropriate towards you is not your family member. For example, it could be someone in your neighbourhood that keeps coming by your house to make threats of assault against you, and you feel very unsafe and scared. Then you should consider getting a VRO out against that neighbour.
Misconduct Restraining Orders
An MRO is aimed at protecting you from inappropriate behaviours like harassment and stalking where there is no threat of violence. For example, if your ex-partner keeps coming to your workplace to see you, and you find this inappropriate, you may consider getting an MRO out against them.
Our firm can assist you with making restraining orders if you are feeling unsafe, so don’t hesitate to contact our office for more information.
Please note that the above is general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All situations are different and legal advice must always be tailored to the specific situation.