If you are the victim of domestic or family violence, you may have considered taking out a violence restraining order (VRO) against the aggressor. However, many people hesitate because of the perceived consequences to the person that they take the VRO out against, mistakenly believing that it will give them a criminal record.
VROs are becoming increasingly common in Australia, where they are often dealt with by criminal lawyers or criminal law experts. However, it’s important to understand that being served with a VRO is not the same as being charged with a crime, and that a VRO itself doesn’t have significant penalties.
What Exactly Is A VRO?
Ultimately, a Violence Restraining Order is a court given order that prevents someone from making contact with another person or group of people. In many cases, VROs are imposed against perpetrators of domestic or family violence, and they are designed to protect vulnerable or potentially weak individuals.
VROs usually prevent the recipient from coming into contact with certain people (except under special conditions) or from entering certain areas. For example, if you are served with a restraining order, you may not be allowed to come within 100 meters of a person, and you may not be able to enter the streets immediately surrounding their home.
Will A VRO Go On My Criminal Record?
Luckily for many people across Australia, a violence restraining order is not seen as a criminal offence. Although serious, a VRO won’t go on your criminal record, and therefore shouldn’t have a significant impact on your life in the future. However, there are significant penalties associated with breaching VROs, which can and will go on your criminal record.
What Are The Penalties For Breaching A VRO?
Along with a permanent criminal record, breaching a VRO could land you in some seriously hot water. Fines of over $6000 and up to two years imprisonment are possible if you do breach a VRO, and repeat offenders can expect to face even larger penalties.
As you can imagine, it simply isn’t worth attempting to make contact with the person who has taken the restraining order out against you. If you absolutely have to speak with them, use an appropriate mediator or lawyer.
Who Should I Speak To If I Want To Find Out More About VROs?
If you’d like to find out more about applying for, dealing with or reporting a breach of a violence restraining order, then the best person to speak to is your local criminal lawyer. They will be able to advise you about the process of applying for a VRO, possibly speeding up the process if you’re in an urgent situation. Alternatively, criminal lawyers can also help you defend a breach of a VRO, especially if you believe that you had a good reason for making the breach.