Family Violence & Restraint Orders

applicant
the person applying for a Family Violence or Restraint Order
respondent
the person the order is made against

Family Violence Orders and Restraint Orders are designed to stop threats, property damage, violence, intimidating behaviour and emotional abuse in the future. They tell the offender to stay away from you and/or to stop behaving in certain ways towards you. They are written to suit your situation.

  • A Family Violence Order is against a person you are in a family or domestic relationship with
  • A Restraint Order is against a person you are not in a family or domestic relationship with
  • A Police Family Violence Order can be issued by an authorised police officer

Are you applying for a Family Violence Order or Restraint Order?

Are you the respondent in a Family Violence Order or Restraint Order?

Apply for a family violence order or restraint order

You can apply to a Magistrate for a Family Violence Order or Restraint Order if you are a victim of

  • domestic violence
  • family violence or
  • other unwanted behaviours such as
    • threatening behaviour
    • damage to property or
    • trespass.

Other people can also apply, including a police officer or solicitor.

How to apply

Complete either of these forms and take to the nearest Magistrates Court Registry:

What happens next?

The Magistrate will make the order if they are satisfied that the person you want the order against has committed unwanted behaviour, and may do so again.

The Magistrate will consider factors such as the safety and wellbeing of you and your children.

Orders usually last about 12 months.

Police Family Violence Orders

Police Family Violence Orders

  • are issued by an authorised police officer.
  • operate in the same way as Family Violence Orders - they also have conditions and usually last 12 months.
  • can be made without the need to go to court.
  • must be served on the offender and a copy must be sent to the court.
  • are automatically revoked once a Family Violence Order (or interim Family Violence Order) is made.

What family violence/restraint orders are for

You can apply to have a family violence or a restraint order taken out against someone who:

  • is violent towards you
  • threatens you or your property
  • harasses or intimidates you

and you are concerned this will continue and put you or your children at risk.

These orders aim to prevent further family violence or unwanted behaviours. They will often have conditions, which make it illegal for the person to:

  • come near you, or directly or indirectly threaten or harass or stalk or assault you
  • come near or go on or damage your property
  • contact you by mail, email, phone, text messages, Facebook and so on
  • use other people to contact you

If the person does these things, they can be charged by the police with a criminal offence and the court will deal with the person. Breaches are covered in more details below.

How to change, extend or end an order

You might need to change the conditions of your order.

You can apply to a Magistrate to vary, extend or revoke an order.

Other people may also apply such as

  • a police officer
  • a solicitor or
  • the person restrained by the order.

To apply, complete any of these forms and take to the nearest Magistrates Court Registry.

Like with the original order, the Magistrate will consider factors such as the safety of you and your children and if there has been substantial changes in your situation since the original order was made.

National Domestic Violence Orders

New laws have been introduced nationwide to improve the protection of domestic violence victims.

In the past, domestic violence orders (DVOs) only applied in the State or Territory in which they were issued or registered.

On 25 November 2017, the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme commenced. All DVOs issued from 25 November 2017 are now automatically nationally recognised and enforceable.

If you have a DVO that was issued after the 25th of November 2017 you no longer need to apply to register your DVO in another state or territory of Australia for it to be enforceable.

If your order was issued before 25th November, 2017, you have the option to have that order declared as nationally recognised. If you are not intending to travel to or reside within another state or territory of Australia you may choose not to declare your order. You will remain protected in the state or territory in which the DVO was issued.

A party of an Interstate DVO (regardless of where their Order was made) can apply to the Magistrates Court:

If you have an Interstate Restraint Order

If you have a Restraint Order made in another Australian State or Territory or New Zealand, you must register it in Tasmania to have it enforced here.

Register your Restraint Order by completing this form and taking it to the nearest Magistrates Court Registry:

Application to Register an External Restraint Order (DOCX, 31.9 KB)

What if the order is breached

If someone doesn’t comply with the conditions imposed by the order, they can be arrested and charged for the breach.

Contact the police if the offender breaches the order.

Serious penalties can apply, such as being fined or imprisoned, depending on the seriousness of the breach and their history of breaching.

If the person protected by the order allows or encourages the breach (for example, they allow the offender to visit them when the order prohibits any contact):

  • the offender can still be arrested and charged for the breach
  • the protected person could be charged with inciting the breach.

What does family violence cover

Family violence is any of the following types of conduct committed by a person, directly or indirectly against that person's spouse or partner:

  • assault (including sexual assault);
  • threats
  • coercion
  • intimidation
  • verbal abuse
  • abduction
  • stalking or
  • an attempt to do any of those things.

It also includes:

  • economic abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • intimidation and
  • breaching any existing orders relating to family violence.

This information is reproduced from the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania Family Violence factsheet.

Support for victims of family violence

Court Support and Liaison Service

The Court Support and Liaison Service (provided by Victim Support Services, Department of Justice) provides free and confidential support to adult and child victims of family violence. It helps male and female victims, of any age or cultural background.

Dedicated Court Support Officers are available across the state to help Safe at Home clients with

  • taking out a Family Violence Order
  • varying or extending an existing Order
  • advising on court processes
  • providing updates on progress of a matter through the courts.

They can also help you with matters as they proceed through the courts, including

  • taking you on court tour to explain court layout and facilities and the roles of people in the court
  • accompanying you to court and providing support throughout the court process
  • debriefing after court and discussing the impact of a magistrate/judge’s decisions.
  • follow-up through referral to other services.

Phone: 1300 663 773 (toll free) or
Hobart: (03) 6165 7525
Launceston: (03) 6777 2937
Burnie: (03) 6477 7133

A dedicated Aboriginal Court Support Officer can provide support to Aboriginal adult and child victims of family violence.

Aboriginal Court Support Officer:
Phone: 1300 663 773 (toll free) or (03) 6165 7530
Email: court.support@justice.tas.gov.au

Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania has specialist lawyers who can deal with family violence offences and applications, and provide court support services.

Family Violence Counselling and Support Services

Family Violence Counselling and Support Service (provided by the Department of Heath and Human Services)offers professional and specialised services to assist children, young people and adults affected by family violence.

1800Respect

Tasmanian services are listed on 1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Women's Legal Service Tasmania

Women's Legal Service Tasmania can provide free and confidential legal advice on family and domestic violence matters.

Support for offenders

Defendant Health Liaison Service

The Defendant Health Liaison Service (provided by the Department of Health and Human Services) helps you if you have been:

  • charged with a family violence offence or
  • issued with a Police Family Violence Order or Family Violence Order

It can help you:

  • understand and comply with the order
  • get access to counselling and other services

Family Violence Offender Intervention Program

The Family Violence Offender Intervention Program is a mandated program for offenders who have a high risk of re-offending or increasing their violence. If they are assessed as suitable, a Magistrate may order an offender to attend and complete the program as part of their sentence.

Men's Referral Service

The Men’s Referral Service takes calls from Australian men dealing with family and domestic violence matters.

Other services

Tasmania Police has specialist prosecutors to deal with family violence offences and applications.

Safe Home, Safe Families Action Plan - the Tasmanian Government's response to family violence.

Bail and family violence

Someone charged with a family violence offence will not be granted bail, unless the court or police officer who has made the police family violence order is satisfied that releasing the person on bail won’t adversely affect the safety, wellbeing and interests of the person to be protected or an affected child.

Information for applicants: Family Violence & Restraint Orders

applicant
a person applying for a Family Violence or Restraint Order
interim (temporary) order
a temporary court order that stays in place only until a court can make a decision on the issue at a full hearing - where an interim order can be dismissed or made final.
final order
is made after a magistrate hears the application. Final orders may be consented to by both parties or a magistrate can decide the orders that should be made. A final order will be in place for such period of time as consented to or ordered. This is usually 12 months, but can be shorter or longer.
respondent
the person against whom the Family Violence or Restraint Order is made.

How to apply

  1. Fill in an Application for Family Violence Order (DOCX, 47.0 KB).
  2. Take the form plus 5 copies and the filing fee to the nearest Magistrates Court Registry.

The Police may apply for an order on your behalf with or without your consent.

Police also have the power to bail persons arrested at a domestic violence incident with bail conditions which are usually identical to those granted by a court on a successful application for an order.

Read more information on Family Violence & Restraint Orders.

If you need help deciding what to do, you may wish to get help and representation from a lawyer or contact one of the following organisations.

What happens in Court?

A Family Violence Order or Restraint Order application may follow several processes through the Court.

Urgent hearing

    • When an application is urgent, a hearing will be listed as soon as possible.
    • You should attend court even though the respondent may not be there, because the Magistrate may want to ask you questions.
    • The purpose of the urgent hearing is to consider making interim orders and set a time for a formal hearing.

First formal hearing

The purpose of a formal hearing is give the respondent the opportunity to say whether they consent to the orders or not.

consent
to agree to or approve something
contest
to not agree with or not approve something
  • If the respondent contests the application, the Magistrate may list the matter for mediation before the final hearing.
  • The hearing is normally in an open court.
  • Your application will not be read out in court.
  • The Magistrate may ask you questions to explain what you have said in your application.
  • You should stand up to answer if the Magistrate asks you questions.
  • You may answer from where you were sitting in the court unless the Magistrate asks you to stand at the end of the table.
  • The magistrate will not expect you to behave as if you are a lawyer, just answer the questions in a straight-forward way.

Final hearing

  • The matter may have to go to a final hearing if the respondent contests the application.
  • Before a final hearing, the matter may be listed for mention.
  • You may have a lawyer represent you at a mention listing if you wish.
  • If the respondent still contests the application after a mention listing, the matter will be listed for a final hearing.
  • You may have a lawyer represent you at this hearing if you wish, and you can give evidence and call witnesses.

The Magistrate may uphold or dismiss your application.

  • If the Magistrate grants your application
    • the Magistrate may make final orders and
    • you may wish to apply to the Magistrate for the recovery of your legal costs.
  • If the Magistrate dismisses your application
    • no orders will be made and
    • the respondent may apply to the Magistrate for the recovery of their legal costs.

Service of applications and orders

service
the process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with a court.
  • The respondent to a Family Violence or Restraint Order application will receive a copy of the application.
  • The application is normally given to (served on) the respondent by a process server or police officer.
  • The respondent will find a 'Notice for Respondent' in the application. It shows the date and time of the formal hearing at which they should attend.
  • If the Magistrate has already made interim orders, the respondent will also be served with a copy of the interim orders. The interim orders take effect as soon as they are served. This interim order will also state the next court date.
  • If the respondent is in court when interim orders are made, the orders take effect immediately, otherwise they take effect as soon as they are served.

Breaches of Family Violence or Restraint Order

A Family Violence or Restraint Order, whether interim or final, is a court order and it is a criminal offence for a person to breach any of the terms of the order.

If the respondent breaches the order, you should call the Police immediately. The respondent can be arrested without a warrant or summoned to appear in court, and prosecuted. They may also face a maximum fine of $1000 or six months imprisonment.

You must not encourage or assist a person to breach an order. You have a legal obligation not to do so.

For example you let the restrained person enter your home when the order states they must not. The police may charge you and the restrained person with breaching the order.

Information for respondents

respondent
the person against whom the order is made
interim (temporary) order
a temporary court order that stays in place only until a court can make a decision on the issue at a full hearing - where an interim order can be dismissed or made final.
final order
is made after a magistrate hears the application. Final orders may be consented to by both parties or a magistrate can decide the orders that should be made. A final order will be in place for such period of time as consented to or ordered. This is usually 12 months, but can be longer.
applicant
a person applying for a Family Violence or Restraint Order

Service of applications and orders

service
the process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with a court.

If you are the respondent to a Family Violence Order or Restraint Order application you will receive a copy of the application.

The application is normally given to (served on) you by a process server or police officer.

Within the copy of the application you will find a 'Notice to Respondent' giving the date and time of the formal hearing.

If the Magistrate has already made interim orders you will also be served with a copy of the interim orders.

What should I do now?

Read carefully through all the documents you have been given.

In the application

  • Note the date and time for the formal hearing. This is in the 'Notice to Respondent' section of the application.
  • Read the orders the applicant is seeking. There are more than ten common types of orders, and often more than one order is sought in an application.
  • Read the reasons why the applicant is seeking the orders.

If you have been served with any interim orders you must read them carefully and obey the orders immediately.

Interim and final orders take effect immediately if you are in court when the orders are made.

If you were not in court the orders take effect when you are given (served with) a copy of the orders.

What happens in court?

There are several processes that a Family Violence Order or Restraint Order application may pass through at the courts.

Urgent hearing

When an application is urgent a hearing usually occurs on the same day the application is lodged with the court. You may not have been notified or seen the application before the urgent hearing and it will normally proceed without you being present.

The purpose of the urgent hearing is to consider making interim orders and set a time for a formal hearing.

First formal hearing

The purpose of a formal hearing is to give you the chance to say whether you consent to the orders sought or not.

  • You will always be informed of the time and date for a formal hearing.
  • If you contest the application, the Magistrate may list the matter for mediation before the final hearing.

Mention listing

mention listing
a hearing in which parties can try to reach agreement on some matters before a full hearing is held

The purpose of this hearing is to clarify the issues, determine the number of witnesses and the approximate length of a final hearing.

  • A mention listing will occur before a full hearing is held.
  • The Magistrate may also provide information about possible outcomes if you proceed to a final hearing.

Final hearing

You may have your lawyer represent you at this hearing if you wish, and you can give evidence and call witnesses.

The Magistrate may dismiss or grant the application. If the application is granted, the Magistrate may make final orders and you may have to pay court costs.

If the application is dismissed no orders will be made and you may wish to apply to the magistrate for the recovery of your legal costs.

Your options in court

1. Consent to orders

consent
to agree to or approve something

You can give your consent to the order (either interim or final) being made. If you give consent, the orders will be made and no further hearings will be necessary.

If you give consent it does not mean that you accept that everything in the application is true. You must state your denial of the allegation(s) to the Magistrate who will make a record of this on the file.

2. Not appear

You do not have to come to court for any hearing of the application.

If you don't appear, the matter may be heard in your absence and the Magistrate may make any orders he or she considers to be appropriate.

3. Contest the application

contest the application
to say that you do not agree with or accept the application

You can contest a Family Violence Order or Restraint Order application.

If you do, you will need to put your case to the court at a final hearing. You may wish to talk to your lawyer first.

Even though you are contesting the application, Magistrates may make interim orders which usually remain in force until a determination is reached.

Breaches of Family Violence and Restraint Orders

A Family Violence Order or Restraint Order, whether interim or final, is a court order and it is a criminal offence to breach any of the terms of the orders. In the case of a breach, you can be arrested without a warrant or summoned to appear in court, and prosecuted.