Violence Restraining Orders (VRO) are taken out by someone who is afraid due to being intimidated or abused in some way, against the perpetrator. It is a legal document, the terms of which are dictated in accordance with the specific situation it is meant to prevent. Criminal lawyers may suggest taking out a VRO on someone to prevent them contacting you in any way, thus alleviating a situation and preventing escalation of the problem.
If you have been served with a VRO you should carefully consider professional legal advice as you have to follow the terms of it carefully, otherwise you will be fined or could face a gaol term. If you feel that it is not necessary or that the terms will make life hard for you – for instance, if you will lose your job because of it – you can apply to have it changed or set aside.
In very limited circumstances a VRO can be set aside by the respondent. For instance, if you were served an interim VRO and did not send back the form for objection within the 21 day time limit. The VRO would then become final. But you can still apply to have it set aside, or to have the terms changed by applying to the court. You must state your reason for missing the time limit and if the court agrees it was a legitimate reason they will allow for you to be heard.
However, once you missed that first 21 day limit and are notified that the VRO has become final, there is another 21 day limit for any objections. Once you’ve put in your application the court will set a date for the hearing that you must attend. The protected person will not attend this court hearing. If you don’t attend the court on the date set, the matter will be dismissed, so long as the court is satisfied you knew about it.
If you do attend the hearing, all the court will do at that time is decide if your reason for missing the deadline is legitimate. If it is, the VRO will again be made interim until another hearing date in the future. This next court hearing must be attended by both you and the person protected. You will then be allowed to state the reasons for your objections to the VRO, or to the terms.
While the application forms can be found online you will probably welcome the assistance of criminal lawyers in telling you which forms to use and showing you how to fill them in, especially if you don’t have a computer and internet connection, or don’t have computer skills. They will also tell you whether you have a legal basis for applying to have the VRO set aside.