We often hear in the media news about people taking out a violence restraining order (VRO) against someone they fear is going to harm them.  To do this they have to apply to a court for the order and the police are the ones who serve it – or give it – to the person who is being violent or aggressive.  Often it is taken out by a spouse or de-facto against her partner – or in some cases – his partner.

While it doesn’t stop them from harming the person if they really want to, there are penalties for breaking the VRO. This can be enough to stop them from frightening or threatening someone where their action is not enough to bring a legal punishment against them. Sometimes people get so bitter and angry they act in ways that are stupid and not really what they are usually like.

For those people, having a VRO taken out against them often brings them to their senses and they realise that breaking it could get them gaol time. For others whose normal way of life is aggression or violence it may not help to keep them away from their victim, but the police are more likely to respond quickly to a call for help when they know the person has been served with a VRO.

They can also get extra gaol time; punishment for the violence done and punishment for breaking the terms of the VRO, so the victim will have a longer time of relief if both penalties are gaol time.  Sometimes the behaviour will gradually cease if the problem is caused by anger over a breakup. The VRO protects the victim for a certain the time frame, after which it is expected that the aggressor will have come to accept the break up and not be so angry.

Of course, there are other reasons apart from a relationship break up for a VRO to be instigated.  It may be taken out on behalf of a minor if they fear abuse from anyone from a parent to some other person. It can be taken out by an adult against anyone they fear who has victimised or scared them, intimidated them or hurt them or their possessions, or a pet that belongs to them, in an attempt to intimidate them.  Such a person might even be a stranger who stalks them.

Sometimes the very act of being served with a VRO is enough to shock that person into stopping the threatening behaviour, whatever it was.  No one should have to live in fear of being harmed, so if you have someone like that in your life, consider taking out a VRO on them. You won’t even have to see them for it to be done.