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Family Violence Orders in Tasmania

Family Violence Orders in Tasmania (FVO) are orders that imposes conditions on a person’s behaviour to try to prevent future family violence. The laws that relate to the process of applying for family violence orders in Tasmania are the Family Violence Act 2004 and the Justices Amendment (Family Violence) Rules 2005. Family Violence can occur between people over the age of 16 who are or have been married, or who are or have been in a significant relationship. A significant relationship is a relationship between two people who are a couple and who are not married to one another or who are not related by family. This includes same-sex and de facto relationships.

In family violence matters the police have the power to enter premises without a warrant if they are asked to by someone who lives at the premises. They can then search the premises and anyone there and take anything they believe was used in family violence and arrest anyone they suspect has committed family violence.

What is Family Violence?

Family violence, known in some states as domestic violence, is when one partner in the relationship tries to control and dominate the other person. It includes threatening to or doing any of the following to the other person:

  • Stalking them.
  • Physically abusing them – including physical assaults, using weapons, driving dangerously, destruction of property, assault of children, abduction.
  • Sexually abusing them – including any forced sex or sexual degradation, or using sexually degrading insults.
  • Emotionally abusing them – including blaming the victim for everything and damaging their self-worth and self-esteem.
  • Verbally abusing them – including threats, coercion, intimidation, continual put downs and humiliations whether privately or publicly.
  • Socially abusing them – including isolating the victim from others, or forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people.
  • Economically abusing them- including controlling all or most of the money, providing an allowance that is not sufficient, using any wages earned by the victim for household expenses whilst the perpetrator spends their wages on anything they choose.
  • Spiritually abusing them – denying access to ceremonies, land or family, preventing the victim from practicing their religion, forcing them to do things that are against their beliefs, criticising their cultural background, or using religious teachings or cultural tradition as a reason for violence.

Family Violence Orders

Application forms are available from the Magistrates Court or online at the Magistrates Court website. The Court will make a FVO if it is satisfied that a person has committed family violence and that they may commit family violence again. An FVO is usually made for 12 months, but can be made for whatever period of time the Court thinks is necessary to ensure the safety and interests of the applicant. When deciding if an order should be made, the Court must consider any Family Law orders that are in place and whether contact between the parties and any child is relevant in the making of the order, as well as the safety and interests of the applicant and any child whose safety, wellbeing or interests is affected or likely to be affected by family violence.

An application for an order, or to vary, extend or revoke an existing order may be made by:

  • a person affected by family violence (the affected person).
  • a police officer.
  • an affected child.
  • any other person the court allows to apply.

The court will consider the safety and interests of the person/s for whose benefit the order was made and if there has been a substantial change in their relevant circumstances since the making of the order before it decides whether to vary an order.

Police Family Violence Orders (PFVO)

An authorised police officer may issue a Police Family Violence Order (PFVO) if they believe that a person has perpetrated or is likely to perpetrate a family violence offence. The order can last for up to 12 months and may include conditions to protect an affected person such as:

  • making the person leave any premises.
  • preventing the person from attending any premises.
  • surrendering any firearm or weapon.
  • making them refrain from threatening, verbally abusing, harassing, or assaulting a person or child.
  • not approaching or contacting a person or child.

A PFVO is cancelled if a FVO or interim FVO is issued by the court. An authorised police officer may vary a PFVO if both parties agree and the variation won’t affect the safety and interests of the affected person or any affected child. If the police are unable to vary the order, application can be made to the court to vary it.

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