Magistrates Court of Western Australia

FVRO Conferencing

Conferencing is a method of resolving Family Violence Restraining Order matters.

The Conference is heard by a Magistrates Court Registrar who will meet with both parties separately to discuss the Family Violence Restraining Order.

The parties will be placed in separate rooms at the Court, and the Registrar will "shuttle" between the two rooms to see if the parties can reach an agreement without having to go before the Magistrate.

Two hours is allocated for each Conference.

At no stage during the Conference process are parties required to be present in the same room.

At the Conference, the Registrar will explore options with the parties to resolve the proceedings as quickly as possible. In doing so, the Registrar will determine:

  • What facts/issues (if any) are agreed by the parties;
  • Whether there are any unusual or urgent matters that require special attention; and
  • What questions are to be determined by the Magistrate at the final order hearing.

Where the matter cannot be resolved at the Conference, the Registrar may make orders to ensure that the matter is ready for the final order hearing, allowing the proceedings to proceed as quickly and as orderly as possible.

Conferencing is a less formal environment than going before the Court. It allows parties to ask procedural questions of the Registrar, and to get an understanding of each other's circumstances.

In Western Australian Courts, many matters are resolved by alternative dispute resolution. Conferencing is a safety focused type of alternative dispute resolution, and has resolved a high number of Family Violence Restraining Order matters.

Conferencing allows the Registrar to make orders that are more flexible than ordinary Court orders, as they are tailored to suit the individual needs of the parties.

When making orders at the Conference, the Registrar will explain the purpose of the orders, which helps parties to understand the effect of the orders, and what each of the parties can and can't do under the orders.

Conferencing may be available for Family Violence Restraining Order proceedings lodged at Perth, Joondalup, Fremantle, Armadale and Bunbury Magistrates Courts. See Court Locations and Contacts.

No. Either party may opt out of Conferencing, as set out below. A Conference can only proceed if both parties wish to participate.

If you are the Applicant you may opt out of the Conference when you lodge your “Application for a Family Violence Restraining Order or Violence Restraining Order”.

On page 3, you will be asked the following question "If conferencing is available, do you object to the matter being listed for a Conference?". If you object to the Conference, you must place a cross in the box marked "yes".

Applicant to opt out put a x in the box marked yes

At the interim hearing, the Magistrate may ask you again if you wish to opt in or out of the Conference and provide you with further information about Conferencing.

If you are the Respondent you may opt out of the Conference when you lodge the Objection with the Court. On the Objection form, you will be asked the following question “If conferencing is available, do you object to the matter being listed for a Conference?”. If you object to the Conference, you must place a cross in the box marked “yes”.

Respondant to opt out put a x in the box marked yes

Regardless of whether you are the Applicant or the Respondent, if there is no response provided to the Conferencing question, the Court will assume that you do not object to the matter being listed for a Conference.

You may opt into Conferencing at any time.

It is important to remember that just because you have opted in, it doesn't mean that your matter will automatically be listed for a Conference. This may depend on whether a Conference is available and whether both parties have opted into Conferencing.

If you wish to opt back into Conferencing, you must write to the Court to request that the matter be listed for a Conference. You may lodge a letter with the Court over the counter, or by sending an email to the court location where the application was lodged. For a list of Court telephone numbers and email addresses, please see the Court locations and Contacts page.

Where you or the other party is legally represented, it is best practice for you to copy the legal practitioners into correspondence with the Court.

Where neither party is legally represented, the Court will contact the other party to inform them that you have opted back into Conferencing.

Both parties may bring with them a support person to assist them through the Conference process.

The support person can be from a recognised support agency, or a friend or family member. The support person cannot be a person who will be called to give evidence at the Final Order hearing, and it is at the discretion of the Registrar whether the person will be allowed to sit in on the Conference or not.

Every participant to a Conference also has the benefit of a free duty lawyer who will be available to provide advice before, during and after the Conference. They will also be able to refer you to other support services.

Please refer to the Legal Services Contacts for details of where you can find legal services.

Legal Aid WA

Legal Aid WA has a broad range of services assisting people in family and domestic violence matters.

The Domestic Violence Legal Unit (DVLU) is a specialist service that provides legal advice and assistance to women about family violence issues. DVLU is able to provide legal advice and assistance before matters go to court. They also provide a duty lawyer service at the Perth Magistrates Court between 9am and 1pm weekdays. DVLU duty lawyers can help with:

  • Advice and representation to get an FVRO;
  • Advice and limited representation if you have to come to court for a contested FVRO; and
  • Representation during an FVRO shuttle conference.

A DVLU duty lawyer also attends Joondalup Magistrates Court to assist FVRO Applicants if an objection to the interim FVRO has been lodged with the court and a first hearing is set.

Although DVLU is a specialist unit for women, there are other services within Legal Aid WA that, in limited circumstances, provide legal advice to other people in family violence matters, including responding to FVROs if served with an interim order.

Legal Aid provides duty lawyer assistance for parties participating in Shuttle Conferences in Perth, Joondalup, Fremantle, Armadale and Bunbury.

Phone: 1300 650 579

Sussex Street Community Law Service (SSCLS)

SSCLS is a ‘non-profit’ non-government community-based organisation that provides access to accountable, non-judgmental and effective legal and social services to people in the community.

SSCLS has a specialty program called RESTORE that provides free legal advice to Respondents to Violence Restraining Orders, Family Violence Restraining Orders and Misconduct Orders.

A Duty lawyer from SSCLS will assist Respondents at Shuttle Conferences at the Perth Magistrates Court.

Phone: (08) 6253 9500

Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre Inc

Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre aims to provide clients with a service that is specific to their needs. They understand that legal and social matters can be complex and often require a combination of legal, social and financial support.

The Joondalup office provides a Respondent Duty Lawyer Service at the Joondalup Magistrates Court, and also appears as legal counsel in Family Violence Restraining Order Shuttle Conferencing at the Joondalup Magistrates Court.

Joondalup branch Phone: (08) 9301 4413

Mirrabooka branch Phone: (08) 9440 1663

Fremantle Community Legal Centre (FCLC)

FCLC is a not-for-profit organisation which provides legal services to financially disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community. The centre provides assistance with legal advice in family law, protection and care, criminal injuries compensation claim, tenancy, social security matters.

FCLC also provides document drafting, court representation at the Fremantle Magistrates Court for Family Violence Restraining Order matters, limited representation in the Family Court of WA and the Children's Court of WA, mediation, information and referrals, and non-legal support. FCLC assist Applicants in Shuttle Conferences at the Fremantle Magistrates Court.

Phone: (08) 9432 9790

Gosnells Community Legal Centre (GCLC)

GCLC provides advice at Armadale Magistrates Court on a weekly basis. This service assists Applicants with family violence restraining order matters including:

  • providing advice to Applicants at the ex-parte stage of their applications;
  • providing assistance to Applicants at the mention hearing stage of the application; and
  • the duty lawyer service available to assist Applicants with negotiations with the Respondent and exploring various settlement options or setting the matter down for a trial.

GCLC provides the duty lawyer service for Applicants to a Shuttle Conference at the Armadale Magistrates Court.

Phone: 9398 1455

South West Community Legal Centre (SWCLC)

SWCLC can provide detailed advice about restraining orders, Magistrate Court applications and applications to the Family Court of Western Australia for parenting orders or injunctions. They can also provide advice about seeking compensation for injuries sustained as a result of offences committed against you. They work closely with other domestic violence support services within the South West region, and can help clients access other necessary supports.

Their duty lawyer services can also assist clients with Family Violence Restraining Order and family law matters. They provide a duty lawyer to assist with Family Violence Restraining Order matters every Tuesday in the Bunbury Magistrates Court and every second Wednesday in the Busselton Magistrates Court. They also provide a duty lawyer service to assist clients during the Family Court of Western Australia Bunbury circuit.

SWCLC provides the Applicant duty lawyer service for Shuttle Conferences at the Bunbury Magistrates Court.

Community Legal Centres Association of Western Australia

Services provided may include legal information advice and representation to individuals and groups. Most services are free or very low cost.

Phone: (08) 9221 9322

Aboriginal Family Law Service

Provides legal and community education services for all Aboriginal people, including children who have experienced family or domestic violence, sexual assault, including men, women and children.

Phone: 1800 469 246

Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia

Provides legal representation and support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia.

The service provides information, support and referrals for people affected by family and domestic violence (including safety planning, risk assessment, court support, and assistance in bringing applications for Family Violence Restraining Orders).

Phone: (08) 9265 6666

Free call: 1800 019 900

After hours: 9265 6644

Law Society of Western Australia

The Law Society of Western Australia is the peak professional association for lawyers in Western Australia.

This website provides a search facility to find Law Society members with experience in particular areas of law, or assistance to find contact details if you already have the name of a lawyer.

1800RESPECT

A telephone service that offers confidential counselling support, information and referral options for anyone impacted be family violence or sexual assault.

This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone: 1800 737 732

Aboriginal Family Support Service

Aims to support and strengthen Aboriginal Families through the generations.

The program provides information, advocacy, referrals as well as group activities, respite camps and peer support groups.

Phone: (08) 6330 5400

Anglicare WA

Provides support and advocacy to adult victims of family and domestic violence.

Anglicare can provide a range of services including referrals to agencies, support with legal and court proceedings, police liaison and emotional support services.

Phone: 1300 11 44 46

Centrecare

A Catholic not-for-profit community services organisation delivering professional counselling, support mediation and training services throughout Perth, Goldfields, Esperance, and South Western regions of Western Australia.

It operates a telephone hotline, counselling and help programmes. It offers crisis specific held and long term post crisis support.

Phone: (08) 9325 6644

Crisis Care

A telephone information and counselling service for people in crisis needing urgent held, including those escaping family violence.

This service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Free call: 1800 199 008

Department of Communities’ Domestic Violence Help Page

The Department of Communities provides a Domestic Violence help page which links to a range of services, including services specific to CALD people, people of diverse sex, sexuality and gender, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Family and Domestic Violence Services and Resources

Phone: (08) 6217 6888

Free call: 1800 176 888

Lifeline

Provides services that aim to prevent suicide, support people in crisis and create opportunities for emotional wellbeing.

Phone: 131 114

Multicultural Women’s Advocacy Service

This service is available to women who are recent arrivals or long- term residents.

They may be in crisis situations, refuges, still remaining in their relationships, or re-establishing themselves into the community after leaving a refuge.

Phone: (08) 9328 1200

Relationships Australia Western Australia

Provides a range of counselling, mediation and educational services, including relationship and family counselling, specialist family violence counselling, post separation services, trauma support services, services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and elder relationship services.

Phone: 1300 364 277

Salvation Army

Provides assistance in a variety of ways including financial counselling, accommodation and homelessness support and food.

Phone: (08) 9328 8529

Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Provides a range of free services to people affected by sexual violence.

Phone: (08) 6458 1828

Free call: 1800 199 888

St Vincent de Paul Society

Can provide assistance in a variety of ways including direct assistance, emergency housing and homelessness support, food, domestic and family violence.

Phone: (08) 6323 7500

Uniting WA (formally Uniting Care West)

Provides free and confidential support to any Aboriginal women who is experiencing or is at risk of family and domestic violence.

Their Indigenous Family Violence program offers counselling, mediation, advocacy and practical assistance.

Phone: 1300 663 298

Women's Domestic Violence Helpline

Provides support and counselling for women experiencing family and domestic violence. It is a state wide service and this service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone: (08) 9223 1188

Freecall: 1800 007 339

Aboriginal Family Support Service

Aims to support and strengthen Aboriginal Families through the generations.

The program provides information, advocacy, referrals as well as group activities, respite camps and peer support groups.

Phone: (08) 6330 5400

Anglicare WA

Provides support and advocacy to adult victims of family and domestic violence.

Anglicare can provide a range of services including referrals to agencies, support with legal and court proceedings, police liaison and emotional support services.

Phone: 1300 11 44 46

Centrecare

A Catholic not-for-profit community services organisation delivering professional counselling, support mediation and training services throughout Perth, Goldfields, Esperance, and South Western regions of Western Australia.

It operates a telephone hotline, counselling and help programmes. It offers crisis specific held and long term post crisis support.

Phone: (08) 9325 6644

Crisis Care

A telephone information and counselling service for people in crisis needing urgent held, including those escaping family violence. This service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Free call: 1800 199 008

Department of Communities’ Domestic Violence Help Page

The Department of Communities provides a Domestic Violence help page which links to a range of services, including services specific to CALD people, people of diverse sex, sexuality and gender, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Family and Domestic Violence Services and Resources

Phone: (08) 6217 6888

Free call: 1800 176 888

Family Relationship Centre

This service provides information about family relationships at all stages.

If you are parents experiencing separation, the Family Relationship Centre can help you focus on your children’s needs and help you decide what to do next.

Phone: (08) 6164 0300

Lifeline

Provides services that aim to prevent suicide, support people in crisis and create opportunities for emotional wellbeing.

Phone: 131 114

Men's Domestic Violence Helpline

Provides counselling and referrals for male perpetrators, as well as male victims of family and domestic violence.

Phone: (08) 9223 1199

Free call: 1800 007 339

Mensline Australia

A national telephone support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns.

Phone: 1300 789 978

Relationships Australia Western Australia

Provides a range of counselling, mediation and educational services, including relationship and family counselling, specialist family violence counselling, post separation services, trauma support services, services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and elder relationship services.

Phone: 1300 364 277

Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Provides a range of free services to people affected by sexual violence.

Phone: (08) 6458 1828

Free call: 1800 199 888

Family Violence Service is available from the Department of Justice’s Court and Tribunal Services Division. The Service provides information and support to family violence victims who are involved in the court system. The Service is available to family violence victims who are involved in a Family Violence List or wish to make application for a Family Violence Restraining Order. Please contact Family Violence Service for further information.

Contact details

Family Violence Service

Phone: 1800 600 476

Email: FamilyViolenceService@justice.wa.gov.au

The Department of Justice provides the following services:

Aboriginal Mediation Service

The Aboriginal Mediation Service (AMS) assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to resolve conflicts before they escalate into violence or result in court action, by providing an effective and culturally appropriate dispute resolution service.

Contact details:

Level 23, David Malcolm Justice Centre
28 Barrack Street
PERTH WA 6000 T
elephone: (08) 9264 6176
Freecall: 1800 045 577
Email: aboriginalmediationservice@justice.wa.gov.au

Call 000 now if you, a child or another person is in immediate danger.

Call police on 13 14 44 to report an incident of family or domestic violence.

Dial 0403 227 478 for SMSAssist, a text messaging service for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired to contact police for assistance.

For a list of Court numbers, please see the Court locations and Contacts page.

For more resources and national contacts, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

For Men's Domestic Violence Helpline, please call 9223 1199 or freecall 1800 000 599.

For Women's Domestic Violence Helpline, please call 9223 1188 or freecall 1800 007 339.


Last updated: 15-May-2024

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