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Online legal resources

  • There are a range of organisations that can help you navigate the legal system for a sexual, domestic or family violence matter
  • There are different services operating in different states
  • On this page you will find links to information, resources and support in each state and territory

Where can I find support and information on the legal system?

There are a number of ways you may come into contact with the legal system when you have experienced sexual assault, domestic or family violence. This page contains links to organisations that provide legal information, resources and support wherever you are in Australia, free of charge.

The first section has links to national, state and territory legal services as well as useful online resources. In each section you will also find information on Magistrates' or Local Courts, which handle protection order applications and other domestic or family violence matters. For criminal matters, including sexual assault, or matters involving children you would need to attend a different court. Contact a legal service for further support and information or advice on which court you need to go.

In addition to the legal services listed on this page, sexual assault support or counselling services can also provide information and support for victims of rape and sexual assault. Support services may provide information on how to report the crime to police, have a Forensic Medical Examination and how to access emergency contraception. These services may also be able to provide ongoing counselling as well as support when reporting to police or being a witness in court.

The Service directory provides links to support and counselling services in your area.

Support services and legal resources

In case of immediate danger call 000 for police assistance. 

To make emergency calls using TTY dial 133 667 or find out more about accessibility options.

For information, referral and counselling contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through online chat. Our service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Protection orders

  • Protection orders are called different things depending on the state or territory you are in:
    • Protection Orders (QLD)
    • Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (NSW)
    • Intervention Orders (VIC and SA)
    • Family Violence Restraining Orders (WA)
    • Family Violence Order (TAS)
    • Domestic Violence Order (ACT and NT)
  • A protection order is a legal order made to try to protect you from further violence and abuse
  • There are many services that can offer you free information and advice on protection orders and how to apply for one if you decide to do so

What is a protection order?

Some people experiencing violence choose to apply to the courts for a protection order. Protection orders are known by different names in each state and territory in Australia and the process of applying for one is also different.

The person applying for a protection order can request different conditions, depending on their own circumstances. Conditions are the things that the person using violence is not allowed to do to the person making the request.

This might include things like:

  • Hurting or threatening to hurt them
  • Damaging property or things they own
  • Stalking or contacting them
  • Coming to their home
  • Being within 100 metres of them

A protection order is not a criminal charge, but it is against the law to break a protection order by doing any of the things listed in it.

How do I get a protection order?

If you would like to know how to apply for a protection order you can speak with a legal service that offers free advice. These services are listed in our Service directory and include organisations like Women's Legal Service or Legal Aid. In most cases, you can go to the police for a protection order or apply directly to the courts.

You may be worried about the way an abusive person will respond to a protection order and if that will put you at risk of more violence. For many reasons, some people also may not want to call the police if an order is broken. These are things that you can talk to support services about before you decide to take out an order.  It is important to speak to someone who knows about protection orders in your state or territory before you make a decision to apply for one.