Changes to the Restraining Order Act 1997 (WA)

On 1 July 2017, a new type of restraining order was introduced in Western Australia, namely a ‘Family Violence Restraining Order’ (“FVRO“). This is in addition to the existing ‘Violence Restraining Order’ (“VRO“) and ‘Misconduct Restraining Order’ (“MRO“) that exist to help people experiencing domestic violence in Perth and throughout WA.

How does this impact Violence Restraining Orders?

VRO’s are no longer available to parties in a family relationship. If there is a family relationship, the application would need to be for a FVRO.

Before 1 July 2017, the Court could make a VRO if it was satisfied that an ‘act of abuse’ has been committed to another or that a person applying for a restraining order reasonably fears that an act of abuse will be committed. This is no longer the case. Now the Court has to be satisfied that that either an act of ‘personal violence’ or ‘family violence’ has been committed to another or that a person applying for an order reasonably fears that such and act will be committed.

A further significant change is that the requirement that a person seeking protection ‘reasonably fears’ that the other party will commit an ‘act of abuse’ against the person has been replaced with a requirement that there be ‘reasonable grounds to apprehend’ that the other party will commit either an act of ‘personal violence’ or ‘family violence’ against the person seeking protection. This means that there is an objective assessment of fear rather than a subjective assessment, which gives the Court a basis on how to make the assessment of the fear factor on any application made.

For more information on restraining orders, click here.


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