Getting protection from the court

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  • If you need urgent help, call the police on 000.
  • If you need housing in a women’s refuge, call 1800 811 811.

Protection by the court

A domestic violence order (DVO) is made by a magistrate in court. It can protect you and others by making a person committing violence against you (the ‘respondent’) be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence.

You can also ask for conditions to be added into the order, such as making it illegal for the person to come within a certain distance of where you live.

You can ask the police to apply to the court for a DVO. Alternatively, you can apply directly to the court yourself, or ask a lawyer, community/welfare worker, friend or family member to apply for you.

Protection for children and loved ones

If your children, relatives, or associates have been exposed to or affected by domestic and family violence, you can ask the court to add them onto your DVO. The conditions the court makes to protect you will also protect them.

The Family Court of Australia deals with living, financial and social arrangements for the parenting of children. Contact the Family Court if you want an order about parenting arrangements.

Protection while in court

If you apply for a DVO or other type of family order, you will go to court at the same time as the respondent. The courtroom will be a closed court, meaning the only people in the courtroom will be you, the respondent, your lawyers and usually the prosecutor.

As a ‘protected witness’, the court must consider options to help you feel safe in the courtroom. For example, the court can organise for you to speak from another room via video link or, a screen can be positioned to block the respondent from your view.

If you have concerns about your safety when arriving at, being in and leaving the court, complete a domestic and family violence safety form (PDF, 455.8 KB) before going to court.

A registrar will show the details on the form to court staff, security officers, and the domestic violence protection worker who will arrange for your safety, such as safe rooms and security.

We’ll put the form on your court file, but it won’t be part of your domestic violence application and won’t be shown to the respondent.

The domestic and family violence safety form can be submitted when you lodge your order application, or any time after.

More information