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Getting legal advice during COVID-19 restrictions

Lawyers are able to provide advice during COVID-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions. They will do this while still complying with COVID-19 restrictions.

Legal aid is available. A list of legal aid lawyers is here:

Find a legal aid lawyer/provider(external link)

You may be eligible for assistance from a Community Law Centre. You should phone them first, as a range of working practices are now in place across the country to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. You can find their contact details here:

Community Law: Our law centres(external link)

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Staying safe during COVID-19 restrictions

The government continues to take family violence and sexual violence very seriously. Violence is a crime at any time.

Family violence and sexual violence services are available, even if services need to be delivered in different ways.

More information on family violence and sexual violence is available here:

Family violence and sexual violence prevention(external link)

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Applying for protection orders and parenting orders

During COVID-19 Alert Level 2, the normal processes for protection orders and parenting orders apply. Please see more information at:

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Guidance for managing shared custody during COVID-19 restrictions

Common questions and answers for shared parenting during COVID-19 Alert Levels can be found here:

Guidance for managing shared custody during COVID-19 alert levels

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Attending court

I’ve got a sexual violence court proceeding coming up, what will happen?

Courts will conduct as much of its usual business as it is safely able to in COVID-19 Alert Level 2. However, some proceedings will be rescheduled or delayed.

Jury trials will not take place until at least August 2020. Judge-alone trials may go ahead, and your lawyer will let you know if you need to be available to come to court.

If you are coming to court, you can seek permission from the Judge to bring a support person or people. Your lawyer can help you arrange this or call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787). 

We know that these changes may be distressing so we encourage you to seek support from a sexual violence specialist or a practitioner that you may have worked with before. You can access support through Safe to Talk which can provide free confidential contact with a trained specialist.

Safe to talk(external link)

You can also find information about other providers who may be able to help you here.

Family violence and sexual violence prevention(external link)

If you have any questions, please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).

I’ve got a hearing coming up for my protection order/parenting order, what do I need to do?

Courts will conduct as much of its usual business as it is safely able to in COVID-19 Alert Level 2. Some proceedings may be dealt with over the phone or electronically.

If you have a scheduled date to appear in court in COVID-19 Alert Level 2, you will need to come to court unless you are advised otherwise.

If you are unsure when your matter is scheduled to be considered, please speak to your lawyer or contact 0800 Courts (0800 268 787). If you are self-isolating or are sick, please do not come to court and contact 0800 Courts (0800 268 787).

If you are coming to court, you can seek permission from the Judge to bring a support person or people. Your lawyer can help you arrange this or call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) to arrange this if you are self-represented.

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Complying with orders

Will my protection order be enforced?

Yes. Police are operating as usual.

Complying with my Family Court order (protection order, parenting order) is difficult because of isolation requirements or limits on travel

Information to help you make parenting decisions that are in the best interests of your child or children can be found here:

Guidance for managing shared custody during COVID-19 alert levels

If you think the children are unsafe, please notify Oranga Tamariki. Call Police if you think they are in immediate danger.

I was directed to attend a non-violence programme: do I still need to go? I can’t attend a court directed programme because I am in isolation. What should I do?

You should still attend a programme but the way it is delivered may change, including doing some of the programme remotely by phone or online. 

It is important that you still make contact with your provider by phone who will be able to discuss options for programme attendance with you.

You need to notify your provider of any isolation or health issues as soon as possible.

If you are unable to attend a programme because of COVID-19 restrictions, the court will take that into consideration.

If you don’t stay engaged with your programme provider, the courts will be notified.

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Services available to help you

I have a protection order – what services can I access to support me?

You are eligible for a funded safety programme for you and your children, which can provide you with safety planning and support.

Our contracted providers are continuing to deliver safety programmes and non-violence programmes, as required by legislation. Your provider will talk to you about how they are delivering their programmes, and can support you if you have any concerns or are self-isolating.

My usual service provider has closed, where can I go for help?

Our funded providers are open, and some may be able to provide support via phone or online. If they become unavailable, you will be contacted and put in touch with alternative services. If they aren’t responding, please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) and let us know.

If you are in immediate danger, please call Police. If you need advice or support, you can contact any of the agencies listed here:

Family violence and sexual violence prevention(external link)

For more information please see our COVID-19 information hub or call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).

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