A DVO is an order made by the judge in court to stop a person (the defendant) doing things that hurt another person (the protected person).
This is usually a relative or close person.
The police can quickly make a temporary domestic violence order (DVO).
Later, police will go to court and a judge will decide if the DVO keeps going.

A DVO can give different kinds of rules the defendant must follow

If someone breaks the rules of a DVO, they break the law.

  • Police can arrest that person and charge them with breach of DVO–  a crime.
  • The person will have to go to court.
  • If a judge decides that person broke the rules of a DVO, then the judge will decide how to punish them.
  • The judge can send that person to jail.
  • The judge will put on their criminal record the breach of DVO.

If the defendant follows the DVO rules, the DVO will not be on that person’s criminal record.

Text based resources about this topic


What are domestic violence orders?
Facts about: Domestic violence

This fact sheet has information about domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Orders – Information for People in need of Protection

This factsheet has information for people who need protection from domestic violence.

Watch videos about this topic


A lawyer can help

This video explains what a domestic violence order (DVO) is, how it can help you, and how a lawyer can help you sort things out.


Resources to listen to


Protected person (Yolngu Matha)

This audio explains the words protected person in Yolngu Matha. Click here for more recordings like this.


Defendant (Yolngu Matha)

This audio explains the word defendant in Yolngu Matha. Click here for more recordings like this.


Perpetrator (Yolngu Matha)

This audio explains the word perpetrator in Yolngu Matha. Click here for more recordings like this.


Glossary: What these words mean

criminal record

A law paper that shows every time a judge has said the defendant was guilty of breaking the law.


This means to break a law, an agreement or an order (rule) made by the court. You breach something when you don’t do what it says.


The person who the police say broke the law. In domestic violence orders, this is the person whom the order tells not to be violent.

protected person

The person protected by the domestic violence order (DVO).

domestic violence order (DVO)

A domestic violence order (DVO) is a law-paper from the police or a judge. A DVO has rules to protect people from domestic violence. A DVO can make rules about what a person can do. For example, a no-contact DVO means no going near, calling, texting, or contacting the person protected by the order. A non-intoxication order means no alcohol or drugs.

If someone breaks the rules of a DVO they are doing a crime.

When the police make the DVO it only lasts until a judge talks about it in court. The judge decides if the DVO keeps going and what rules it has.

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