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0800 650 654 24/7 Victims Information Line

Protection orders

If you’re at risk of family violence, you can ask the court to give you a protection order. The court can make an order straight away if you need it.

A protection order means an abuser can be arrested if they hurt, threaten or even approach you or your children. You can apply for a protection order (external link) if you're in a domestic relationship with the person being violent.

It's a good idea to get a lawyer who knows about family law to help you apply for a protection order. If you're on a low income you might be able to get free Legal Aid.

How does a protection order protect you?

Once your protection order is granted, the person named in the order must not:

Protection orders are usually made in the the Family Court but they can also be made in criminal courts (like the District Court) at sentencing.

Conditions of the protection order

The order will include conditions preventing the person named in the order from being violent or abusive towards you or your children. The order will usually include some non-contact conditions – but you can choose to agree to some contact if you want to. You can even stay living together if that is what you want.

Non-contact conditions can prevent the person named in the order from:

You can work with your lawyer or the Family Court to decide special conditions, for example, what happens when you pick up or drop off your children.

The person named in the order will probably have to attend a court-appointed ‘stopping violence’ programme.

Contact with children

By law, both parents have custody rights unless a court says otherwise. You can apply separately for sole custody if you’re worried about your children’s safety.

If there’s proven violence, the abuser usually won’t be allowed to see their children without supervision.

You’ll need to tell your children’s school, daycare and other caregivers about the order – and let them know exactly who’s allowed to visit the children or take them away.

Applying for a protection order

For more information about protection orders and how to apply see help to get a protection order (external link) (New Zealand government website).

For more information about family violence see the list of government and community services for people affected by family violence on this website.

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