National Domestic Violence Order Scheme

New laws have been introduced to enable family violence restraining orders to be enforced across Australia. The new system is called the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, or NDVOS.

This page contains information about how the NDVOS will work in Western Australia. Equivalent information for other States and Territories can be accessed via the national NDVOS website.

If life is at risk, call 000 immediately. If a restraining order is breached, call Police on 131 444 to report the breach.

Why was the NDVOS introduced?

This NDVOS aims to strengthen the protection of victims of family violence by eliminating barriers to the enforcement of restraining orders.

A person protected by a nationally recognised order can move between States and Territories without losing the protection of the order.

The NDVOS also makes it easier for police to prosecute breaches where the victim and perpetrator are located in different states (eg where the breach occurs over the internet).

How does it work?

Orders that are recognised under the NDVOS can be enforced by local police across Australia. A person who breaches a recognised order will be penalised under the law of the State or Territory in which the breach occurred.

All of the restraints included in a recognised order operate nationally. For example, if a recognised order disqualifies a person from holding a firearms license, that disqualification applies nationally.

Once an order is nationally recognised, it remains nationally enforceable until it expires or is cancelled by a court. Recognised orders can be varied and cancelled local courts across Australia.

The existence of a recognised order does not prevent a new order from being made. A new court order will supersede any previous order involving the same parties.

The NDVOS doesn’t change the way restraining orders are issued. Existing State and Territory laws, including Western Australia’s Restraining Orders Act 1997, will continue to apply. Information on how to obtain a restraining order in Western Australia can be found on the Magistrates Court or Children’s Court websites depending on which court your Restraining Order was made.

Which WA restraining orders are nationally recognised?

Family violence restraining orders (FVROs) made on or after 25 November 2017 are automatically nationally recognised under the NDVOS. FVROs made before 25 November 2017 can be brought within the scheme via an application to a court.

Violence restraining orders (VROS) are not automatically recognised. However, VROs made before 1 July 2017 that relate to family and domestic violence may be brought within the national scheme via an application to a court. With the introduction of FVROs on 1 July 2017, courts no longer issue VROs in family violence cases. This means that a VRO made on or after 1 July 2017 cannot be nationally recognised under the NDVOS.

Police orders made on or after 25 November 2017 are automatically recognised under the NDVOS.

Misconduct restraining orders are not used in family violence cases and therefore cannot be recognised under the NDVOS.

Type of order

Date made

Status under the NDVOS

Family Violence Restraining Order

On or after 25 November 2017

Automatically recognised.

Before 25 November 2017

Not automatically recognised, but can be brought within the NDVOS via an application to a WA Magistrates Court or equivalent court in another State or Territory.

Police Order

On or after 25 November 2017

Automatically recognised.

Before 25 November 2017

Not recognised

Violence Restraining Order

On or after 1 July 2017

Not recognised

Before 1 July 2017

If the order relates to family and domestic violence: not automatically recognised, but can be brought within the NDVOS via an application to a WA Magistrates Court

If the order does not relate to family and domestic violence (eg violence between neighbours) it cannot be recognised under the NDVOS.

Misconduct Restraining Order

Any date

Not recognised

Which interstate orders will be recognised in WA?

Orders made in other States and Territories that are nationally recognised under the NDVOS are enforceable in WA. If you believe that a recognised interstate order has been breached in WA, contact WA Police on 131 444 to report the breach.

Each State and Territory decides which of its orders are recognised under the NDVOS.

Most jurisdictions have adopted the same approach as WA: family violence orders made on or after 25 November 2017 will be automatically recognised, while orders made before that date can be recognised on application to a court.

Victoria has taken a different approach. All Victorian family violence orders are automatically recognised, regardless of whether they were made before or after 25 November 2017.

If you don’t know whether an interstate order that protects or binds you is nationally recognised, you should contact relevant authorities in the State or Territory in which the order was made.

How to ascertain whether an order is nationally recognised

From 25 November 2017, every new police order and FVRO will have the words ‘THIS IS A NATIONALLY RECOGNISED ORDER’ printed at the bottom. If you see these words on an order, the order is recognised and enforceable across Australia.

If a court declares an order made before 25 November to be nationally recognised, the person who applied for the declaration will receive a certificate confirming that the court’s decision.

The person bound by the order will not be notified of the declaration, but will commit an offence if the order is breached anywhere in Australia.

Applying for national recognition of orders made before 25 November 2017

Orders made prior to 25 November 2017 that relate to family and domestic violence may be nationally recognised under the NDVOS via an application to a court.

If the order is an FVRO, the application can be made to any Magistrates Court (or equivalent) across Australia.

If the order is a VRO, the application needs to be made to a WA court. The court will only make a declaration if satisfied that the VRO relates to family and domestic violence.

This process is optional. Orders that are not recognised under the NDOVS still operate within WA in the usual manner. National recognition will be of most benefit for people planning to move or travel interstate.

Detailed information on how to apply to have an order nationally recognised is available on the Magistrates Court and Children’s Court websites.

Variation and cancellation of recognised orders

An order that is recognised under the NDVOS can be varied or cancelled by a court in any State or Territory regardless of where it was made.

This means that WA courts will be able to vary or cancel recognised orders made interstate. It also means that recognised WA orders will be able to be varied and cancelled by courts in other States and Territories.

However, a court may refuse to consider an application to vary or cancel an interstate order if it is not satisfied that there is a legitimate reason for applying in that jurisdiction. In addition, a court can refuse to hear an application if circumstances have not changed and the application is effectively an appeal against the making of the original order.

An application to vary or cancel an interstate order can be made to a Magistrates Court in the same way as an application to vary or cancel a WA order. Information on this process is available on the Magistrates Court website.

Further information

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Last updated: 27-Nov-2017

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