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What is a restraining order?
A restraining order is a family court order that limits what a person can do in any way that the court thinks is appropriate. The order might limit where a person can go, or who they can contact or communicate with.
A restraining order might say that a person must not:
- come within 500 metres of you and your children
- come within 750 metres of your home and work
- talk to or contact you or your children except through an agency or another person
Not following the conditions in a restraining order is a crime.
Who can apply
You go to family court to get a restraining order. In most cases, you can apply for a restraining order against someone if at least one of these is true:
- you were married to the person
- you lived together with the person for any period of time
- you have a child with the person
The rules for a restraining order are the same if the person is the same sex or the opposite sex.
If none of these situations apply to you, you can think about going to criminal court to ask for a peace bond. You can ask for a peace bond against anyone. It doesn't have to be someone you were in a relationship with. For example, you could apply for a peace bond against a neighbour or co-worker.
Read the question "What is the difference between a restraining order and a peace bond?" to learn more. Restraining orders and peace bonds are the 2 main kinds of protection orders you can apply for if you're afraid for your safety or the safety of any child you have decision-making responsibility for. Decision-making responsibility used to be called custody.
Prove why you need the order
To get a restraining order, you must prove that you have reasonable grounds to fear for your safety or the safety of any child that you have decision-making responsibility for. You must show why you are afraid for yourself or any child.
A restraining order can be temporary or permanent. Most restraining orders are temporary.
It can take a long time to get any type of court order, especially if the other person asks the court for more time to get ready.
The person you're asking for an order against doesn't have to keep away from you or your children while you're waiting for the court to make a decision. Think about making a safety plan for you and your children.