What is a protection order?
A protection order can be granted by a Family Court or District Court under the Domestic Violence Act 1995 to protect a person who is on the receiving end of domestic violence (“the applicant” or “protected person”). A protection order prevents the perpetrator of the domestic violence (“the respondent”) from coming into contact with the protected person, which includes face to face contact, texting, email, entering the protected person’s place of residence, work place, or any other place the protected person visits often. The respondent must not watch, follow or accost the protected person. In essence a protection order is intended to provide a complete physical separation between the applicant and respondent so that no further violence can occur. A protection order obtained for the benefit of an applicant automatically also protects any children in the care of the applicant.
Do I qualify for a protection order?
In order to obtain a protection order the applicant must satisfy certain criteria.
The applicant must be in a domestic relationship with the respondent. This means the applicant must be the spouse or partner, family member, share a household with, or be in a close personal relationship with the respondent.
There must be an act or several acts of domestic violence, which includes physical, sexual and psychological violence (ie. Intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats of abuse).
How do I get a protection order?
Once the above criteria has been satisfied the applicant makes an application to the Court for a protection order. This is best done with the help of a lawyer. The Court will grant an order if it believes the respondent has used domestic violence against the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family, and an order is necessary to protect the applicant from ongoing violence.
If the applicant is successful in obtaining a protection order,he or she can also apply (if living with the respondent at the time the order was made) for an order granting him or her the right to occupy the home and have use of the furniture for the duration of the order.