Family Violence

On this page:

Update – 29 January 2021


From the 1st of January 2021 if the person responsible for a vehicle is a victim of family violence, they will no longer be obliged to nominate the person who was in control of the vehicle - if that person is the perpetrator of the family violence upon the victim.

Changes to the law in the Road Traffic Administration Act 2008 provides this protection for victims of family violence in circumstances where the victim fears retribution from the perpetrator if they were to disclose their identity.

The changes also remove the legal presumption they were the driver at the time of the alleged commission of an offence where there is an infringement notice containing photographic evidence of the vehicle involved and a victim will commit no offences for failing to provide information under these circumstances.

The exceptions to these protective provisions relate to allegations whereby the use of a motor vehicle is related to the cause of death of a person or cause of bodily harm of a person. In these circumstances the person in possession or control of a vehicle is still required to give information to identify the driver even if they are a victim of family violence. 

In order to use these protective provisions a victim of family violence will be required to provide a statutory declaration to the effect they are a victim of family violence. This declaration will include the victim’s concerns they will be subjected to family violence if they were to take steps to provide the information demanded.

A statutory declaration is a legal document and must meet all legal requirements to be an acceptable declaration. It is an offence to make a fraudulent statutory declaration.

The statutory declaration must also be accompanied by a family violence evidentiary document to verify the person is a victim of family violence. Both of these documents are available for download below.

A family violence evidentiary document can be any of the following;

  • A family violence restraining order or nationally recognised domestic violence order. 
  • A family court injunction, or an application for a family court injunction. 
  • A copy of the prosecution notice or indictment containing the charge relating to violence against the responsible person or a court record of a conviction of the charge; 
  • A Family Violence Evidentiary Report, in a form approved by the Minister for Transport, completed by a person who has worked with the responsible person and is one of the following:
    • a person registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Western Australia) in the medical profession;
    • a person registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Western Australia) in the psychology profession;
    • a social worker as defined in the Mental Health Act 2014 section 4;
    • a police officer;
    • a person in charge of a women’s refuge;
    • a prescribed person or class of persons (yet to be prescribed).

A person can only endorse the report if they have previously engaged with the victim in the context of family violence.

When family violence is reported to Police, a written record of the family violence will be made and a record number provided to the victim.

Police may still investigate the alleged family violence.

Statutory Declaration Form

Family Violence Evidentiary Report

What is family violence?

Family violence is behaviour which results in physical, sexual and/or psychological damage, forced social isolation, economic deprivation, or behaviour which causes the victim(s) to live in fear.

Family violence can be experienced by people of all classes, religions, ethnicity, ages, abilities and sexual preference. All victims are entitled to access services which are provided in a fair and equitable manner.

The most important thing you can do is to get help! You need information and support to make yourself safe and end the abuse.

Is it a crime? YES!

Examples of criminal offences that occur in family violence situations include assault, sexual assault, making threats about a person's physical safety, stalking, damage or stealing of property and breaching Restraining Orders.

How to report family violence

If life is at threat, call 000 immediately. If you need to report a breach of a Family Violence Order, or require Police attendance, please call 131 444.

Questions you may be asked:

  • The address where the incident is taking place.
  • Your name and telephone number.
  • The offender's name, age and date of birth.
  • Are there any weapons involved? Are you able to describe them?
  • Are you the victim? If no, what's the victim's name?

If the incident is occurring while you are talking to the operator, stay on the telephone. Your safety is paramount to us.

^ Back to top

How can police help?

Provided there is sufficient evidence, police will prosecute the accused person. This may require you to be a witness in court. If the court finds the person guilty of the crime, they will be convicted and the court will impose a punishment.

Police can also issue a Police Order, help you to get a Restraining Order, find a refuge or alternative accommodation. They can also refer you to support agencies such as Crisis Care, counselling services and legal services such as the Legal Aid Domestic Violence Legal Unit.

The police will take all measures possible to ensure the victim and children's welfare and safety is not compromised. They are also committed to ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable.

^ Back to top

National Domestic Violence Order Scheme commences

In the past, restraining orders that relate to family violence only applied in the state or territory in which they were issued or registered. On 25 November 2017, the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme commenced. From this date, every new Family Violence Restraining Order and Police Order will be automatically recognised and enforceable across Australia. This eliminates the need for the victim to go to a court and register their order, and means that the order can be enforced by local police no matter where in Australia the victim and perpetrator are located.

What do I need to do?

If your order was issued on or after 25 November 2017, it is automatically recognised and enforceable across Australia without the need for you to take any further action.

If your order was issued before 25 November 2017, you can choose to have your order nationally recognised so that you are protected across Australia. You can do this by applying to a Magistrates Court. If you are not planning to travel to or live within another state or territory, you may choose not to declare your order. You will remain protected in WA.

For more information, go to and view the publications below.

^ Back to top

What is a Police Order?

Where there is insufficient evidence to arrest and charge a person for family violence, but police hold concerns for the safety and welfare of any person, police may issue a Police Order.

Police may issue a Police Order without the requirement to obtain consent from any person for up to a period of 72 hours, as deemed necessary having considered all the circumstances.

A Police Order provides temporary but instant protection for a person who is being threatened, harassed or intimidated. It provides temporary relief to allow the opportunity for a person to attend court to obtain a Restraining Order.

It is a criminal offence to breach a Police Order and if a breach occurs the accused person will be arrested and charged, and faces a similar penalty to that of breaching a Restraining Order.

^ Back to top

Do you need a Restraining Order?

If you or your property is threatened, harassed or intimidated and you are concerned that it will continue, then you can apply to have a Restraining Order taken out against the person concerned.

A Restraining Order is an order of the court preventing the perpetrator from behaving in a manner that is intimidating or offensive. A Restraining Order prevents the person from coming near you or your property. It is a criminal offence to disobey the conditions of the Restraining Order.

Under certain circumstances a police officer can apply for an order on your behalf.

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for a Restraining Order at a Magistrates Court. If you are not yet over 16, a parent, guardian, police officer or an adult can apply for a Restraining Order on your behalf.

The applicant is the person who is applying for a Restraining Order; the respondent is the person you apply to be protected from.

There are two types of restraining orders:

  • Violence Restraining Order (VRO) where there is no family relationship between the applicant and the respondent.

  • Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) for persons in a family relationship.

A court may issue a Family Violence Restraining Order if satisfied that, unless restrained, the respondent is likely to commit family violence against the person seeking to be protected.

Family violence is defined as:

  • Violence or the threat of violence by a person towards a family member; or
  • Any other behaviour that coerces or controls the family member or causes them to be fearful.

All Violence Restraining Orders include a restraint prohibiting the respondent from being in possession of a firearm or firearm licence and obtaining a firearms licence.

^ Back to top

More information

Department of the Attorney General, Court & Tribunal Services

Department of the Attorney General, Law Compass
(Victims of crime, victim support service, court services)

Department of Communities
(Family violence, support services, resources, families and parenting)

^ Back to top