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Family Violence Messages in a Minute - Protection Orders

Protection Orders offer legal protection from family violence. When issued, the names and roles of the parties involved are redefined:

  • The Primary Victim becomes the Applicant and is referred to as a Protected Person.

  • Primary Child Victims are also referred to as Protected Persons.

  • The Predominant Aggressor is called the Respondent.

Protection Orders can have special conditions and can be issued in two ways: Without Notice and With Notice. Below, I'll explain what these terms mean.

Firearms licenses are typically revoked when a Protection Order is issued.

Without Notice: A judge issues the order without notifying the respondent, believing there is an immediate risk of harm. This type of order is legally enforceable from the moment of service. A Without Notice Protection Order is initially a Temporary Protection Order, and the respondent has three months to contest it. If unchallenged or unsuccessfully defended, it becomes permanent. Note that new children must be added to the order by the applicant.

With Notice: A judge decides to hear the respondent's perspective before issuing the order. The respondent has three months to present their case. If not defended, it becomes a Protection Order. If successfully defended, no order is in place. If the defence is unsuccessful, the order is issued.

Service: An order cannot be enforced until the respondent has been formally notified and served with the order. Serving the order on a third party is possible but it’s best for it to be handed directly to the respondent.

Third Party Respondent: If you are at risk from someone connected to the respondent, you can request protection from that third party as well. Discuss this with a legal advisor to understand the process.

If you're looking to get a Protection Order or want to learn more about them, please check out the links below if you are in Aotearoa, New Zealand:

Always reach out for support and ask questions. Legal aid is available, but there are criteria that must be met. Community Law is fantastic for assistance: How to get a Protection Order.

You do not need a lawyer to apply for a Protection Order; you can do this yourself or with the support of an advocate, social worker, or family violence practitioner. Local Women's Refuges have excellent lawyers who support primary victims. Contact your local refuge at 0800 733 843.

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