Statistics on Western Australian Violence Restraining Orders

The following are statistics on Western Australian violence restraining orders (VROs) taken from the Marty Kavanagh, Kavanagh Lawyers WA paper to the 2013 Law on the Lounge Family Law Conference, Bali 2013.

The writer is very grateful to Mr Tom Millward, from the WA Magistrates Court for the following statistics on Western Australian VROs. [1]

Western Australian violence restraining orders: Lodgements by Year

Perhaps surprisingly the overall number of applications lodged for VROs has remained relatively static with only a 4.7% increase over the five year period 2008 to 2012. Considering the general population increase in WA over the same period it is arguably the case that net VROs have decreased.

 

Jurisdiction

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Magistrates Court

12654

13036

12697

13124

12452

Children’s Court

860

884

846

784

1693

Total

13,514

13,920

13,543

13,908

14,145

The large increase in Children’s Court lodgements between 2011 and 2012 is due to recent legislative changes which are discussed below.

Outcome of Lodgements

JurisdictionOutcome

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Magistrates CourtInterim Order

8244

8175

7954

8584

7706

Final Order

329

382

374

294

182

Granted, Status Unknown

45

56

37

24

18

Adjourned or Remanded

81

64

106

89

61

Dismissed

3261

3626

3493

3489

3353

Not Granted

205

309

310

333

276

Withdrawn

238

199

151

134

148

Cancelled

205

196

246

148

167

Other

46

29

26

22

31

Children’s CourtInterim Order

621

638

562

557

1009

Final Order

38

32

22

21

25

Granted, Status Unknown

1

1

Adjourned or Remanded

6

8

8

6

16

Dismissed

152

152

198

151

446

Not Granted

13

12

22

26

22

Withdrawn

14

19

10

7

37

Cancelled

12

20

21

14

21

Other

4

2

2

2

10

In may surprise some practitioners that consistently over the period 2008 to 2012 at least one in four VRO applications is dismissed or not granted. Considering most initial applications are heard on an ex parte basis it is perhaps surprising that so many applications fail.
Even more surprising is the statistic provided to the writer for 2012 that only 9% of all applications result in a final order after a defended hearing.

Jurisdiction

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Dismissed (MC)

3261

3626

3493

3489

3353

Not Granted (MC)

205

309

310

333

276

Dismissed (CC)

152

152

198

151

446

Not Granted (CC)

13

12

22

26

22

Total dismissed or not granted

3631

4099

4023

3999

4097

Total

13,514

13,920

13,543

13,908

14,145

% VRO applications dismissed or not granted

26.8

29.4

29.7

28.7

28.9

VRO Orders made under Section 63 of the Restraining Orders Act

Whilst courts other than the Magistrates Court (including Courts hearing proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 and the Family Court Act 1997) may make restraining orders pursuant to s 63 of the Act, these courts seem reluctant to do so.

Jurisdiction

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Magistrates Court

4

1

47

30

19

Children’s Court

1

1

1

2

Sentence Rates for Breaches of VRO

What is not surprising is the increase in the sentencing rate for breaches of VROs and in light of the WA Government’s “three strikes” policy introduced in 2011 sentence rates are likely to increase. [2] “Sentence” does not necessarily mean a custodial sentence.

JurisdictionOutcome Classification

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Magistrates CourtSentenced

3960

4069

3607

4619

4213

Dismissed

443

708

494

586

277

Other

10

10

2

4

5

Sentence Rate

90%

85%

88%

89%

94%

Children’s CourtSentenced

53

53

47

41

102

Dismissed

13

6

41

8

14

Other

16

15

5

9

26

Sentence Rate

65%

72%

51%

71%

72%

*Note: The sentence rate is not related to the lodgement data.

[1] Statistics prepared by Prepared by Chetan Jina 30/04/2013 – Magistrates Court Perth WA.

[2] S 61A Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA) inserted by No.32 of 2011 s 15.

You can view the full paper presented to the 2013 Law on the Lounge Family Law Conference, Bali 2013 here…

You can read more about how Kavanagh Family Lawyers can help with Western Australian Violence Restraining Orders here…