Court

When you apply for a VRO the court will usually hear the application as soon as possible at what is called an “interim” hearing.

You will give evidence at the interim hearing in writing or orally. Evidence in writing is called an “affidavit”. A magistrate or justice of the peace will listen to or ready your evidence. The respondent is not at this interim hearing and is not told when it is happening.

 After hearing your evidence, the magistrate/justice of the peace may do one of the following:

1.Grant an interim Violence Restraining Order

2.Make no decision, and summons the respondent to appear and give some evidence before they make a decision

3.Dismiss the application and not grant an interim Violence Restraining Order

 interim Violence Restraining Order

If an interim order is granted, the order is faxed to the police station nearest to the respondent’s home, and the police will serve the order on the respondent. The VRO comes into effect at the time it is served on the respondent.

The respondent has 21 days to object to a VRO being made by sending a notice to the Court.

If the respondent does not object within 21 days, then a final order will be made. This will usually last for 2 years.

Service of Summonses and Orders

Service involves bringing the content of an order or summons to the attention of the person to whom it refers. This is generally done by handing a copy to the person. This is the responsibility of the police

In the case of telephone orders, the police will also arrange service. This is generally done by the police station nearest to where the respondent lives. It is important that you provide to the police as much detail as you can to assist with the service of the documents and tell them immediately of any information, such as change of address.

Regular contact should be maintained with the police station nearest to the respondent to ensure service occurs. If by the week before the hearing the summons has not been served you should ring the Police District Superintendent.

It is important to remember that a matter listed before the court for hearing cannot proceed unless the person summoned has been served and any order made by the court does not come into effect until it has been served.

Hearing Applications

When hearing an application, the court will require evidence on such matters as

  • the actions or conduct of the respondent who has caused the order to be sought,
  • the circumstances of the parties,
  • the welfare of children,
  • the addresses of parties
  • whether there is a history of actions or conduct of a similar nature and
  • the effect of any orders made.

 It is important that you tell the police or the court if any orders have been made between the parties in the Family Court or any other court.

 Where an application for a violence restraining order is made in person to a court, you can choose to have the initial hearing of the matter without the other person being present.

At this hearing the court may:

 Make an order of 72 hours duration or less, which must be served on the person against whom the order is made within 24 hours of the making of the order or it lapses;

  • Make a temporary order of more than 72 hours duration. The person on whom the order is served has 21 days after service to lodge an objection to the order and, if an objection is received in this time, the matter will be listed for further hearing with both parties present. If no objection is received in the period. the order becomes final and remains in effect for the period specified in the order and if no period is specified, for a period of 2 years:
  • Adjourn the matter to a hearing date: or
  • Dismiss the application.

Alternatively, you may ask that your application proceed to a hearing in the presence of the other party. If in the hearing the court is satisfied that reasonable grounds exist for the making of the order, it will make a final order.

Where a violence restraining order is sought by a police officer on your behalf whether or not by telephone, the magistrate may make similar orders to those made if the application was made in person.

Telephone orders only remain in force for 3 months, or less if specified in the order.

Any order made only remains in force for a period of one year, or less if specified in the order.