Information for applicants: Family Violence & Restraint Orders

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.
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, 55.7 KB).
  2. Take the form plus 5 copies to the nearest Magistrates Court Registry. No filing fees apply to Family Violence Order applications.

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.

Family law matters such as divorce are not heard in the Magistrates Court. They are dealt with by the specialist Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.  You can find more information on our Family Law page.

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.

to agree to or approve something
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

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.