Taking steps to leave a violent relationship can be frightening. The Police and family violence support organisations are there to help you to stay safe.
What do the Police do?
The Police take reports of domestic violence very seriously. If they come to your home to investigate reports of violence, they will ask questions to determine if you or your children are in immediate danger. Tell them if you feel unsafe, or if there are weapons in the home.
The Police will refer you to an agency (such as Women's Refuge) that can help you, and take your statement. If the Police believe an offence has been committed, they can charge the abuser.
A protection order helps to keep you and your children safe. It will contain conditions that the abuser must meet, such as non-contact with you and no violence. If the conditions are broken, the abuser can be arrested. It is a good idea to have a lawyer help with the application — you may be eligible for legal aid, if you do not have a family lawyer.
Police safety orders
If the police have concerns about a person's safety, but insufficient evidence to make an arrest, they can issue a Police safety order.
The safety order requires the abuser to leave the home, surrender any weapons, and hand over their firearms license. They must not contact the person at risk, or visit their home or workplace. Children living in the home are also covered by the order, which lasts up to 5 days.
If the safety order is breached, the police can take the abuser into custody.
The police website has more information on safety orders, and protection orders.
The Citizens Advice Bureau also has information on protection orders.