On the 1 July 2010 new laws came into effect which allow the Police to issue on the spot Police Safety Orders.
The Police Safety Order (PSO) is issued in circumstances where the Police believe, on reasonable grounds, that domestic violence has occurred or might occur.
A PSO lasts for up to five days. The purpose of the PSO is to protect the person at risk (the protected person) from violence, harassment or intimidation. The order stays in force until the expiry date on the order.
The Police do not need the consent of the protected person to issue the order.
What is the effect of a Police Safety Order?
When a PSO is made the respondent must leave the address while the PSO is in force even it they own the address and/or normally live there.
The respondent must not assault, threaten, intimidate or harass the protected person or encourage any one else to do so.
The respondent must not follow, stop or contact the protected person in any way and any place either at home, at work or any where else the protected person may visit. The respondent must surrender all firearms and their firearms licence to the Police for the period of the PSO. The PSO also protects any children living with the protected person and any conditions of parenting orders or agreements permitting access or care by the respondent are suspended. The Police may detain the respondent for up to two hours to issue and serve the PSO. There is no right of appeal.
What happens if someone breaches the Police Safety Order?
If the respondent breaches the PSO the Police can charge the respondent and bring them before the Criminal Court.
The Court may:
- Release the respondent without any further order;
- Direct the Police to issue another PSO; or
- Issue a temporary protection order (if the protected person does not object).
The Court does not need an application from any one to issue a temporary protection order.
Should I see a lawyer if a PSO is made to protect me?
Yes. The PSO will lapse and when it does you will no longer have the protection of it. You should see a family law lawyer to obtain advice about what you can do for long term protection.
Should I see a lawyer if a POS is made against me?
Yes. You may face further Court proceedings once the PSO lapses. Charges such as assault or charges relating to damaging property may be laid if sufficient evidence exists. There may also be issues surrounding any contact you want with children you and the protected person have.