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The Need-to-Knows about Police Safety Orders

Did you know that the Police may issue on-the-spot Police Safety Orders ("PSO")?

Here's some of the basic need-to-knows about Police Safety Orders.

A PSO can be immediately issued in situations where the Police reasonably believe family violence has occurred or may occur. Family violence isn't limited to just physical violence. It also includes harassment, threats, emotional and psychological abuse. The purpose of the Police Safety Order is to protect people from the risk of violence, intimidation or harassment.

How long does the PSO last for?

A PSO can be in force for up to 5 dates. It will have a date recorded on it for when it lapses.

What does this mean if I am a victim of family violence?

For victims of family violence, the existence of PSOs means you may be able to obtain more immediate protection, rather than having to wait to get a protection order from the Court. If you contact the Police for assistance they may issue a PSO immediately.

The Police do not need your consent to issue a PSO against someone who they believe has used, or may use, family violence against you.

It is important you immediately contact the Police if you have a PSO to protect you and it is breached by the person it was made against.

What happens if the Police make a PSO against me?

The Police do not need your consent to issue a PSO against you. You can be detained by the Police for up to two hours in order for the order to be issued against you.

The PSO does not result in a criminal conviction against you unless you breach it.

What does the PSO do?

If you have a PSO issued against you, you must:

  • immediately leave the property where the order is issued even if you own it or usually live there.

  • not assault, threaten, intimidate or harass the person protected by the order. You also must not encourage anyone else to do this.

  • not follow, stop or contact in any way the person protected by the order.

  • immediately surrender to the Police (until the PSO lapses) any firearms and firearms licence that you may have.

You can be taken into Police custody if you breach the PSO.

What if we have children together?

The PSO also protects any children living with the person protected by the order.

If there are parenting orders or agreements in place that allow those children to be in the care of the person the PSO has been made against, then those orders or agreements are suspended while the PSO is in place.

Can I appeal if an order is made?

No. There is no right of appeal.

Should I see a lawyer if a PSO is made to protect me?

Yes. The PSO will lapse in a matter of days. When it does, you will no longer have the protection of it. Therefore, it is important you see a specialist family lawyer to get advice about your options for longer term protection for you and any children you may have.

Should I see a lawyer if a PSO is made against me?

Yes. You may face further Court proceedings once the PSO lapses so it is important you get advice about your legal position. If you have children with the person the PSO was made in favour of, then you may have issues to resolve about how you can continue to see those children.

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