Family or Domestic Violence Protection Orders

In cases of family or domestic violence, the police or the court can issue orders that may restrict contact between people or impose conditions on their behaviour.

Family Violence Order (FVO)

A Family Violence Order (FVO) is a Court Order that may restrict contact between people or impose conditions on their behaviour.

Applying for a FVO

An FVO application may be made to a Magistrate by:

  • the victim;
  • a police officer;
  • any child affected by witnessing or experiencing family violence; or
  • any other person if permitted by the court.

Application forms are available from the Magistrates Court of Tasmania or on their website. You can also ask to see a Safe at Home lawyer at Legal Aid Tasmania.

The Court will grant a FVO if they are satisfied that a person has committed family violence, and that they may again commit family violence.

In making an FVO, the Court must consider the following matters:

  • the safety and interests of the victim and any affected child;
  • contact between the victim and the alleged offender and any child who is a member of the family; or
  • whether there are any relevant Family Court Orders in place.

The court may make a temporary FVO, called an interim order, until the application can be fully considered.

Changing or extending your FVO

If the Court decides to make an FVO, it will remain in force for such period as the Court considers necessary to ensure the safety and interests of the victim or until an application is made to revoke the FVO. An FVO is generally in place for 12 months.

Sometimes people need to change the terms of their FVO. This could be for many reasons such as allowing contact between a parent and their children or because the parties have reconciled and a party removed from the home by an order wishes to return.

An application to vary, extend or revoke an FVO may be made to a Court at any time.

The Court must consider the safety and interests of the victim and children and if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances since the order was made.

Police Family Violence Order (PFVO)

A police officer may issue a Police Family Violence Order (PFVO) against a person if satisfied that the person has committed, or is likely to commit, a family violence offence. A PFVO lasts for 12 months.

A PFVO will be revoked if an FVO or an interim FVO is issued in for the same parties.

Changing your PFVO

A police officer of the rank of inspector or above may vary a PFVO where:

  • the victim and the alleged offender consent to the variation; and
  • the variation will not affect the safety and interests of the victim or any affected child.

If the police are unable to vary the PFVO, a court may vary, extend or revoke a PFVO at any time on application.

FVO and PFVO Conditions

FVOs and PFVOs have specific conditions. Depending on the circumstances the following conditions can be part of a FVO or PFVO:

  • requiring a person to vacate any premises;
  • not enter any premises;
  • surrender any firearm or weapon;
  • refrain from harassing, threatening, verbally abusing or assaulting an affected person or child; or
  • not approach or contact an affected person or child

An FVO can also include a condition that the victim or alleged offender’s name can be removed from a residential lease.

FVO and PFVO Breaches

If a person does not comply with the conditions imposed by the FVO or PFVO, they can be arrested and charged for the breach. Serious penalties can apply such as imprisonment or a fine depending on the severity of the breach and the offender’s history of breaching.

If you are protected by a FVO or PFVO you cannot consent to a breach. You also need to be careful not to initiate a breach.

For example, if the FVO says that the alleged offender is not allowed near your home, you cannot invite them over. If the FVO says they cannot call you, you cannot call them. If you did make the phone call you can be charged for inciting a breach. The offender may also be charged for breaching the FVO.