Legal help

The New Zealand Domestic Violence Act 1995 legally protects anyone in a domestic relationship from violence.

Family violence is not a private matter.

  • Nobody has the right to assault another person.
  • Nobody is allowed to have sexual contact with another person without consent, regardless of their relationship.
  • Nobody has the right to use intimidation, threats or mind games to gain power over another person.

You can ask the police for advice about dealing with a situation, without making a formal complaint or requesting intervention. They can advise on being safe, dealing with potential or actual situations, and support and advocacy organisations that are available.

Police Safety Orders

A Police Safety Order (PSO) is issued when the police have reasonable grounds to believe family violence has happened or may happen. They do not need the consent of the person at risk to issue the order and there is no right of appeal. A PSO usually lasts one to three days but can be issued for up to five days.

When a PSO is made, the person bound by the order (usually the perpetrator) must leave the address while the PSO is in force.

Protection Orders

These aim to protect people from violence and require an application to the Family Court. They are usually granted on the same day and are initially temporary for three months but can then become permanent.

Protection Orders usually include non-violence and non-contact conditions such as the respondent being prohibited from going to the applicant’s home or hanging around the neighbourhood or place of work, as well as phoning, writing or making contact with the applicant unless given permission.

Applicants who want a Protection Order are advised to get assistance from a lawyer or an advocate from such organisations as:

For further information on PSOs or Protection Orders:

Relevant legislation