How the Police Helps Victims of Violence
A victim of physical assault, threats of violence and stalking must immediately ask the help of police for protection.
The police can issue a police order which is good for 72 hours so that the offender cannot get near the victim during such time. If the police order will affect a child, the police must first ensure that necessary arrangements have been made for the child’s care.
Police orders are issued whether the violence involves domestic relationships or not. It is actually issued if there is no sufficient proof to arrest and detain an offender but the police on the other hand will not disregard the risk. So, a police order is the solution that provides instant temporary protection until a charge is brought in court or a restraining order application is filed.
A police order will not be recorded in the criminal history of the offender but only if it is breached. The violation of a police order is a criminal offence and the penalty is a fine of up to $6000 or imprisonment up to two years.
The police may also help the victim apply for a restraining order against the offender. In Western Australia there are two types of restraining orders: violence restraining order and misconduct restraining order. The first type is where the victim and the offender are in a domestic or family relationship while the second type of restraining order is where there is no such relationship. The police can help the victim go to the Magistrates Court to apply for a restraining order if the alleged offender is an adult or to the Children’s Court if the offender is below 18 years old.
The police can arrest and file charges against the offender for the assault or harassment committed. The victim will have to testify against the offender in court. Police will also be assisting the victim in obtaining the necessary evidence to prosecute the offender. The police may keep torn clothing, photograph injuries and inventory any damages caused by the offender to property. If injuries are sustained or emotional distress caused, the police will assist the victim to go to the nearest hospital and of course, obtain medical certificates needed for a potential court case.
Temporary accommodation, referrals to legal aid centres and guidance counselling are also part of the assistance that may be provided by police to victims of violence.