Orders (Misconduct Restraining Orders, Violence Restraining Orders and Police Orders) - Legal Information Sheet

There are two types of restraining orders in Western Australia: Misconduct Restraining Orders (MROs) and Violence Restraining Orders (VROs).

MROs

A misconduct restraining order is designed to stop a person behaving in a way that is intimidating or offensive towards you. It is an order of the court. It can also stop a person causing damage to your property or acting in a way that may lead to a breach of the peace.

To get it, must show that the person you want the order against is likely to:

  • act in a way that could reasonably make you feel intimidated or offended and would in fact actually intimidate or offend you OR
  • cause damage to your property or property you have with you OR
  • act in a way that is, or may lead to, a breach of the peace

AND the court thinks it is appropriate to make a MRO.

Note: A breach of the peace is a legal concept meaning something that disturbs the public peace. For example:

  • regularly screaming and shouting in a public place.
  • rotesting in a way that prevents people from carrying out their work.
  • intimidating people who are trying to use a public open space. 

A MRO can be worded to suit your situation.

An MRO only applies to someone you are not in a family or domestic relationship with. You are in a family or domestic relationship with someone if that other person is your:

  • spouse or ex-spouse;
  • de facto or ex-de facto;
  • girlfriend/boyfriend or ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend;
  • child, step-child or grandchild;
  • parent, step-parent or or grandparent;
  • your sibling or step-sibling;
  • relative or former relative.

The MRO can include stopping the respondent from:

    being on or near premises where the applicant lives or works;
    being on or near a named building, locality or place;
    coming within a certain distance of the applicant;
    contacting or attempting to contact the applicant in any way, including ringing, writing to or text messaging or emailing the applicant;
    being at a place even if they have a right to be there;
    preventing anyone from entering or staying in a place;
    having a gun or a gun licence or applying for a gun licence;  
    getting anyone else to do any of the things listed above.

if says the person bound is not allowed to communicate with you, they must not:

  • visit you;
  • call you on the phone;
  • send SMS or text messages to you;
  • send emails to you;
  • send letters to you;
  • send presents to you;
  • send messages to you, even through friends, family or your children.

VROs

A violence restraining order (VRO) is designed to stop threats, property damage, violence, intimidating behaviour and emotional abuse in the future. It is an order of the court. It tells the offender to stay away from you and/or to stop behaving in certain ways towards you.

There are two types of VROs:

  • VROs against a person you are in a family or domestic relationship with (see above for how this is defined), and
  • VROs against a person you are not in a family or domestic relationship with.

The law states that an act of family and domestic violence includes:

  • assaults;
  • injuries;
  • threats;
  • stalking;
  • damaging property;
  • hurting animals or pets; and
  • acting in an ongoing intimidating, offensive or emotionally abusive manner.

In addition to forming a basis for a VRO, physical violence, stalking and threats of violence are crimes.

To get a VRO you must be able to show the court that the respondent is likely to:

    commit an act of abuse against you; or
    make you reasonably fear they will commit an act of abuse against you

AND the court thinks it is appropriate to make a restraining order.

An act of abuse includes:

  • any assault whether or not it causes an injury;
  • any act that causes an injury;
  • kidnapping;
  • holding another person against their will;
  • stalking;
  • threats to do any of the above.

If the respondent believes they are in a family or domestic relationship with you, even if they aren't, then the following would also be acts of personal violence:

  • damage to your property;
  • injuring or killing your animals;
  • behaving in an ongoing way that is frightening, offensive or emotionally abusive towards you.

A VRO can have conditions which stop the person bound from doing certain things such as:

  • being on or near your home home or place of work;
  • being on or near a certain place;
  • coming within a certain distance of you;
  • contacting or trying to contact you in any way, including texting, ringing , emailing or writing- even through other people;
  • contacting you in certain circumstances or in particular way, eg only by texting to make arrangements for contact with your children;
  • behaving in certain ways;
  • being in possession of firearms, ammunition or a firearms licence.

A VRO may also inform the person bound/respondent that certain behaviour and activities are unlawful, that is, that if they continue that behaviour, they may break a criminal law.

If a VRO says the person bound is not allowed to communicate with you, they must not:

  • visit you;
  • call you on the phone;
  • send SMS or text messages to you;
  • send emails to you;
  • send letters to you;
  • send presents to you;
  • send messages to you, even through friends, family or your children.

If a person bound by a VRO breaches that order, they may be charged with the criminal offence of breaching a violence restraining order. A conviction for breach of a VRO will go on their criminal record. Breaches of a VRO can result in fines of up to $6,000 or imprisonment for up to two years or both. If you breach a VRO 3 times it is likely you will be imprisoned.

Police Orders

Police may make an on the spot restraining order called a police order in situations of family and domestic violence. A police order may be made for up to 72 hours. which prevents the offender from coming near you or the places you live and work for that period of time. A police officer cannot make a police order against a child that might affect the care and wellbeing of a child unless they are satisfied that appropriate arrangements have been made for their care and wellbeing. Notice of a police order does not go on a person's criminal record.

If a person bound by a police order breaches that order, they may be charged with the criminal offence of breaching a police order. A conviction for breaching of a police order will go on their criminal record.