A restraining order places a restriction on the person bound by the order not to contact or be within a certain vicinity of a particular person or place. There are two types of restraining orders, namely Misconduct Restraining Orders and Violence Restraining Orders.
A Misconduct Restraining Order may be issued when a person behaves in an intimidating or offensive manner which may lead to a breach of the peace or the damage of a person’s property. A person who breaches a Misconduct Restraining Order commits an offence and is liable for a fine of up to $1,000.
A Violence Restraining Order may be issued when an act of abuse has been committed or a person reasonably believes that an act of abuse may be committed. A person who breaches a Violence Restraining Order commits an offence and is liable for a fine of up to $6,000 or imprisonment for up to 2 years or both (section 61 of the Restraining Orders Act 1997).
A person who applies for a restraining order may first have an ex parte hearing to determine whether an interim restraining order should be made. The person bound by the restraining order does not have to be present at the ex parte hearing. If an interim restraining order is made, the person bound by the order has 21 days from the date of service of the order to lodge an objection, otherwise the restraining order will be automatically continued for 2 years. If an objection is lodged, the Court will list the matter for a final order hearing to determine whether the restraining order should be cancelled or continued. The person bound by the order is required to attend the final order hearing.
Before proceeding to a final order hearing, the parties should consider whether the matter can be resolved by the person bound by the order giving an undertaking or promise to the Court. If an undertaking to the Court is breached, the Court finds that breach persuasive evidence that a restraining order should be made if a further application is made.