The Family Court of Western Australia and Domestic Violence

If you or a child are in immediate danger, call emergency police on 000.

Australian law and the Family Court of Western Australia consider family and domestic violence to be unacceptable in any form.

The Family Court of Western Australia employs specific protocols, policies and security systems to protect victims of family violence when attending the Court. For more information, and to download the Family Court of Western Australia’s domestic violence policy, click here.

The Family Court of Western Australia’s concern with respect to family violence is the effect that it has on victims and children. Accordingly, the framework that the Court uses to consider a child’s best interests focuses on protecting children from neglect and exposure to family violence, whilst protocol within the Court ensures the protection of a parent or party who could be a victim of violence whilst in attendance.

To notify the Court of any past, current or anticipated family violence, you must complete and file a Form 4 Notice of Child Abuse or Family Violence (or Risk). You can download a copy of this form, and instructions on completing the form, from the Family Court of Western Australia website here. A Form 4 is to be used when allegations of child abuse, neglect and/or family violence (or a risk) are made, and are relevant to whether the Court should make or refuse to make Orders about a child’s care arrangements.

You can file a Form 4 at any point in Family Court proceedings and there is no Court fee charged for filing a Form 4. Information contained in a Form 4 is evidence and needs to be true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. Allegations of family violence are taken very seriously in the Court, so all care must be taken to ensure that the facts contained in the form are properly explained and correct.

A Form 4 is an affidavit, so you must swear or affirm the contents of the document before an authorised witness. An authorised witness can be a Justice of the Peace or a Lawyer. You can have your documents witnessed by a Justice of the Peace at the Family Court, at certain times during the week. Call the Family Court, on (08) 9224 8222, to check times and availability. You can also find authorised witnessing services at local and regional Magistrates Courts, as well as some government centres and libraries.

You must file your Form 4 at the Family Court of Western Australia and serve the other party with a sealed copy of the documents.

If you have concerns about your safety at Court, you should contact the Family Court of Western Australia on (08) 9224 8222, or write to the Court (at least two weeks’ before your next Court event) with the concerns you have for your safety and a request for assistance. You can download the template for the “Request for Personal Safety Measures” at the Family Court of Western Australia website (www.familycourt.wa.gov.au).

If there is a Violence Restraining Order between the parties to a case in the Court, you should notify the Court and take a copy of the Order with you to your next Court event. If you have concerns upon reaching the Court, notify a Court officer so they can implement the Court’s safety protocols. Advise Court officers of any threatening or intimidating behaviour, when attending the Court, as soon as possible.

Family violence may constitute a criminal offence. If you have concerns about your safety, or the safety of a child, outside of Court, you may wish to notify the police or the Department of Child Protection accordingly.

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