What are the Penalties for Breaching a Restraining Order?

May 29, 2024    criminaldefencelawyersperthwa
What are the Penalties for Breaching a Restraining Order?

The Australian law establishes guidelines for proper conduct toward all people, including friends, family members, and strangers. Whether a restraining order is temporary or permanent, violating it carries penalties equivalent to those for crimes.

Most legislative provisions in Australia relevant to restraining orders are governed by the Restraining Order Act 1997 (WA). A restraining order restricts the way that an individual can behave; these can include communication limitations or the inability to stay a set distance away from another individual. Depending on the specifics of the case, the consequences for violating a restraining order can differ significantly.

In this article, learn what breaching a restraining order means, the consequences of such breaches, and how a restraining order lawyer in Perth can help you in such a situation.

Breaching a Restraining Order: What Does It Mean?

If someone willfully disregards or makes no effort to adhere to the limitations imposed by the order, they violate the restraining order. While it is not illegal to be mentioned in a restraining order, it is illegal to violate an FVRO, VRO, or MRO.

The argument that the offender provoked the victim or sparked a reaction is not a defence when it comes to violating the restraining order. While it might be taken into account during sentencing, this does not change the requirement that the offender—or respondent to the restraining order—take all reasonable steps to prevent a breach.

However, there is a legitimate reason to request the revocation of a restraining order if the respondent to the order can demonstrate that the applicant intentionally caused a breach or used the order as a “sword.”

Penalties For Breaching a Restraining Order In Australia

The maximum punishment for violating a police order, violence restraint order, or family violence restraint order is fines in addition to two years in jail. All of the case’s circumstances will determine the actual sentence that is applied.

The seriousness of the offence increases if the violator violates the restraining order and exposes a child or family member to domestic abuse.

Should an individual have violated an FVRO, VRO, or Police Order more than once in the preceding 24 months, they may be considered a repeat offender. If that is the case, the court must impose a sentence that includes either an immediate or suspended jail term unless doing so would be manifestly unfair.

Before receiving a sentence from the court in cases involving family violence, the offender may request to take part in counselling offered by a family violence program.

Additional Legal Repercussions:

Violating a restraining order may result in additional legal repercussions beyond criminal charges and penalties. These repercussions may include the court imposing additional restrictions or conditions, modifying current orders, or initiating civil contempt proceedings.

Can You Defend Your Breaching of a Restraining Order?

A defence that one was unaware of the restraining order or its terms is inadmissible. As quickly as possible, the accused should go over the order in detail with their restraining order lawyer Perth. It is also not acceptable for the accused or person charged to justify a breach by claiming that the other party urged them to break the order or that they were asked to visit.

Regardless of invitations or enticements from the other party, the court would view you as the one in charge of your behaviour. The court may, however, change or revoke the restraining order if these acts are shown to be genuine. Additionally, if the party subject to the order can demonstrate that they were affected by the breach, they can use the following defences:

  • Adopting a family dispute resolution or mediation service;
  • Acting via counsel or an ALSWA court officer;
  • Complying with directives from a Department of Communities child welfare officer;
  • Appearing in court as a party or witness;
  • Or acting in the ordinary course of an individual in the face of an emergency.

If you are unclear about the behavior covered by the order, it is crucial that you thoroughly examine it and get help from criminal appeal lawyers.


Breaching a restraining order carries serious consequences designed to protect the safety and well-being of individuals. Penalties for such violations can include fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record, which can significantly impact one’s future opportunities and reputation. The severity of the penalty often depends on the nature of the breach and any prior violations. So, seek assistance from a skilled restraining order lawyer in Perth if you are being accused of violating a restraining order. Sometimes, a breach can be defended. To ensure that your case has the best chance of success, you must collaborate with one of the best criminal appeal lawyers who has expertise in this niche.

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