When couples split up one party may become violent or aggressive towards the other. In fact, this often happens well before any separation and can be the sole cause of the split. It can help to take out a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) on them to ensure they don’t come near you.  Your criminal lawyers can help you to apply and tell you whether the court is likely to grant the VRO.

No person should have to live in fear of another.  Abuse takes many forms from physical injury to threatening by phone, text message or face to face, to destroying or harming your belongings. It can be stalking you or intimidating you in any way.  It can be done by a spouse or partner, ex- spouse or ex- partner, parent, an adult child or relative, or anyone else.

When you apply for a VRO you will need to tell the court what intimidation or abuse you have suffered.  The court will then make an interim VRO and the police will deliver it to the person involved, called the respondent. They have a 21 day limit in which to object. If they don’t object, the interim order becomes a final order and the person must comply with the terms or face a fine or gaol time.

What are the terms? Terms will vary depending on the situation, and it is important you go over them with your criminal lawyer. They are likely to be that the respondent must not approach you or your dwelling or workplace and keep a certain distance away from you at all times.  The ‘certain distance’ will be a specific number of metres.  The respondent will not be allowed to contact you by mail, phone or text message.

However, the person can object to some of the terms if they do so within the time limit. If they miss the time limit and can show good reason why this occurred, they may be allowed to object after the time limit. You will be notified in either case. A reason for an objection could be to enable the respondent to phone you in order to arrange for child to visit.

Once the VRO is in place, if the respondent needs to come to your home – for instance, to get things that belong to them – they can only do so if accompanied by police.

When a person receives notice of a VRO they can appeal against it becoming final. However, they must have a legal reason for doing so for the court to agree.  In most cases there will be no legitimate reason and the appeal will be refused.

The applicant can also apply to cancel the VRO and this can be if the couple decide to get back together or if the applicant now trusts the respondent not to cause them harm.