I HAVE APPLIED FOR A PROTECTION ORDER – NOW WHAT
One of the hardest steps survivors of domestic violence can take – is often the first step, asking for help.
At VM Family Law, we understand how daunting the court process can be applying for a protection order.
Let one of our lawyers walk you through what happens at your first court appearance.
After your lawyer files your application, you will be given a date, where you are required to attend court – terrifying right! Attending court is scary at the best of times, let alone when you are seeking protection.
Your first Court appearance is called a “Mention”. A mention is a procedural hearing, where both parties are afforded an opportunity to tell the court – how they would like to proceed with the application.
We often get asked by our clients – “will I have to answer any questions” or “do I have to say anything to the Magistrate”.
If you have a lawyer – the short answer is “no” – not likely. It is our job as your lawyer all the talking for you. While the Magistrate can ask parties questions directly, it is unlikely a Magistrate will ask you anything at this stage in the proceedings.
The mention is an opportunity for applicants – (this is you), to:
- Request a Temporary Protection Order to be made until final decision is made, so you are protected;
- Ask to proceed with your application and have a date set for a final hearing; and
- Ask for more time.
The mention is an opportunity for respondents (this is the other party), to:
- Object to a Temporary Protection Order being made;
- Advise they are contesting or opposing your application and have a date set for a final hearing;
- Agree to the application by consent;
- Agree to the application by consent, without admissions;
- Ask for additional time to receive legal advice;
The first mention is usually where your lawyer will ask the Magistrate for a Temporary Protection Order, (if one has not been made already).
The Court requires two factors to grant a Temporary Protection Order:
- A relevant relationship exists; and
- That an act of domestic violence has occurred.
If the Magistrate orders a Temporary Protection Order, your lawyer will provide you with a copy and explain what the conditions mean for you and your protection.
It is important to let your lawyer know if you are fearful about attending Court. This way we can arrange for a safety plan with the court, for your attendance.
Many of our clients find attending court, with their perpetrator, quite overwhelming. If you are worried about seeing the other party in the courthouse, you can request that you are held in a “safe room”.
The safe room is, essentially a room within the court, which is secure and locked. Upon arrival, you will notify the registry staff that want to remain in the safe room, until your matter is called. You will then be escorted into the court room when your matter is called by a safety officer or your lawyer.
While it may take some time for your matter to be called, generally mentions are short and over quickly.
It is important that when your mater has been adjourned, you ensure you make arrangements to safely leave the court.
We recommend having a support person attend Court with you and accompany you back to your car, after the other party has left the courthouse.
Our lawyers make sure you have a safe place to sit at court, give you information to help you understand what is happening and work with you to get an order that is best for your situation.
The VM Family team of lawyers work hard to ensure our clients feel as safe as possible, while attending court.
If you or someone you know needs information about getting a protection order, call our office and one of our team members can help you take that step.