Restraining Orders

Paper and Book of explaining what is a Restraining Order?

What is a VRO?

A Violence Restraining Order (‘VRO’) can provide you with protection from somebody with whom you were in an intimate, or family relationship.

A VRO is obtained by application to the Court. Mossensons can advise, prepare and defend VRO applications, and can represent you in Court. A well-prepared application can greatly improve your chances of successfully getting a final VRO, or defending an application made against you. 

A VRO prevents the person bound by the Order from:

  • being within a certain physical distance to you;
  • communicating with you; or
  • behaving in a violent, threatening or abusive way towards you.

A VRO is granted for a specific period of time, usually between 12 to 24 months. Once the time period has elapsed, it seizes to be enforceable against the person bound by it.

A VRO does not appear on a criminal history check, unless you have breached the VRO, and you have been convicted of the breach. If you are the protected person, it does not appear on your criminal history check.

However, in some cases you may be required to disclose the VRO and its terms to a current or prospective employer. 

You will need to make an application to the Magistrates Court, in order to have a VRO granted. Please be aware that you may have to appear in Court on the same day that you lodge your application. Mossensons can assist you in preparing the application, and can lodge it with the Court, on your behalf.

You can choose whether you want the application to be heard in the absence of the other person, or with the other person present in the Court.

If you decide to proceed in the absence of the other party, you will have to tell the Court why you want the VRO, and you will need to make out the grounds for granting it. A Magistrate will then make a decision as to whether to grant it, or whether to dismiss your application.

Getting proper legal advice prior to making your application, will ensure that you are able to provide the Court with the information needed to grant or defend the VRO.

Following the initial hearing where you (and your legal representative)  appear in Court, the Magistrate will decide whether to dismiss, or grant an interim VRO.

If an interim VRO is granted, the other party will be served with the  Order by the police. The other party will have the choice to either accept the VRO, or to defend the application.

When a Court grants a VRO, it is usually on an interim (temporary) basis, giving the other person the opportunity to tell their side of the story at the next hearing. The interim VRO will be in place until the other party has had a chance to respond to your application, at a final hearing.

The interim VRO will not come into force until it is served onto the other party by the police, in person. Once served, the other party has 21 days to respond to your application. If no objection is filed, then the VRO automatically becomes a final order.

When the other party is served with your VRO, they are usually served with a copy of your application, and they can apply for a copy of the Court transcript of what was said when you were in Court.

If the other party objects to the VRO, the Court will contact you and arrange a time for the final hearing at the Court. The magistrate will listen to you and the other party and make a decision as to whether to grant the Order or to dismiss the application.

If you have been served with an interim VRO, and you want to object to it, Mossensons is able to assist you in defending the application. If you wish to make an application for a VRO against the protected person, then seeking legal advice prior to doing so, will ensure that you have proper information, as well as an understanding of your prospects of success, given your particular circumstances.

The Court will decide whether to grant the VRO based on the evidence that each party gives in relation to such matters as, whether there has been any instances of family violence, in the past and whether you have reasonable grounds to believe that the other party will commit family violence against you in the future, and the seriousness of this possibility.

The most important factors that the Court will consider in granting the VRO are:

  • Your safety
  • The need to protect you from the threat of violence, and
  • The safety and well being of children