Ways you can stay safe from family violence

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What’s a Protection Order?

 A Protection Order is an Order made by a court that stops the person who's been violent to you from continuing to hurt you.

How can a Protection Order help me stay safe?

The person who applies for a Protection Order is called the applicant (you). The Protection Order will protect you and your children from the person who's been violent (called the respondent). This includes any children not born yet and can include children who don’t live with you. 

You and the respondent can be living together or not.

You can also ask for the Protection Order to protect other people, such as your new partner or your mother.

The Protection Order can also include associates of the respondent to stop them being violent to you and anyone else covered by the Order.

A Protection Order has two main conditions:

  • no violence, and
  • no contact.

It’s an offence if the respondent breaks the rules of the Order.The Police can enforce a Protection Order and make sure the person being violent doesn’t break the conditions.

The respondent will usually be directed to attend a non-violence programme.

 Apply for a Protection Order

How can I protect my children?

The Protection Order will protect you and your children from the person who's been violent (called the respondent). This includes any children not born yet and can include children who don’t live with you.

Because of the no-contact conditions in a Protection Order, the respondent may only have contact with children if:

  • there’s a Parenting Order, other Court Order or parenting agreement in place between you and the respondent, or
  • you've agreed to live with the respondent.

Children who turn 18 while a Protection Order is in place

Children who turn 18 while a Protection Order is in place are also protected if they still live with you.

If your children are still living with you when they turn 18 and don’t want to be protected by the Order, either you or your child need to ask the court to change the Order.

Parenting Orders

Either you or the respondent can apply to the court for a Parenting Order. A Parenting Order sets out who has day-to-day care (custody) of the children and who can have contact with (access to) them.

A judge must be sure children will be safe with the person who's been violent before allowing any contact, so they might decide that when that person is with their children, they must be supervised by another adult. If supervised contact is allowed, the Parenting Order will say when the person who has been violent can see their children.

You can apply for an urgent Parenting Order at the same time as a Protection Order. A lawyer can help you do this. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get legal aid.

Find out more about legal aid

Court-ordered Parenting Order

The court can decide to make an interim (temporary) Parenting Order about who'll have day-to-day care and contact with any child covered by the Protection Order.

The court can do this even if no one has applied for a Parenting Order. In this case, the person who is given day-to-day care by the court must then apply for a Parenting Order as soon as possible.

An interim Parenting Order lasts for up to one year or until the child turns 16, unless the court orders otherwise.

Find out more about Parenting Orders

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