Family and domestic violence

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What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic 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 and domestic 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 and domestic 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 or domestic 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.

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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.

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National Domestic Violence Order Scheme commences

In the past, restraining orders that relate to family and domestic violence only applied in the state or territory in which they were issued or registered. This is changing. On 25 November 2017, the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme will commence. 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 www.justice.wa.gov.au/ndvos and view the publications below.

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What is a Police Order?

Where there is insufficient evidence to arrest and charge a person for any act of family and domestic 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.

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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 offender 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 18 can apply for a Restraining Order at a Magistrates Court. If you are not yet over 18, 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:

A court may issue a Violence Restraining Order if satisfied that (unless restrained, the respondent is likely to):

  • commit a violent personal offence against the applicant; or
  • behave in a manner that could reasonably be expected to cause the applicant to fear that the respondent will commit such an offence.

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.

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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 for Communities
(Family and domestic violence, support services, resources, families and parenting)

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Metropolitan Victim Support Units:

Fremantle District
Tel: (08) 6174 9620
Email us

Central Metropolitan
Tel: (08) 9422 7413
Email us

South East Metropolitan
Tel: (08) 9451 0025
Email us

South Metropolitan
Tel: (08) 9581 0203 - Mandurah
Tel: (08) 9550 1473 - Rockingham
Email us

North West Metropolitan
Tel: (08) 9345 9422
Email us

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Regional Family Protection Units:

Goldfields
Tel: (08) 9021 9774
Email us

Kimberley
Tel: (08) 9194 0259
Email us

Pilbara
Tel: (08) 9182 2206
Email us

Mid West-Gascoyne
Tel: (08) 9923 4629
Email us

South West
Tel: (08) 9722 2011
Email us

Great Southern
Tel: (08) 9892 9328
Email us

Wheatbelt
Tel: (08) 9622 4288
Email us

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