Intervention Orders and Family Violence Matters

Intervention Orders

Intervention Orders are orders made by a court for the personal protection of a person and/or child (referred to as the Affected Family Member or Protected Person). They restrict another person (referred to as a Respondent) from doing certain things like contacting, coming to a person’s home or place of education or work, or committing family or domestic violence. Intervention Orders also include some exemptions to what a Respondent can do.

Intervention Orders are civil orders. They are not criminal orders, so they do not appear on criminal records. However, breaching an Intervention Order is a criminal offence and if found guilty, the breach will appear on a criminal record.

How to apply for Intervention Orders

Each State and Territory have different names, rules and processes for applying and defending an application for an Intervention Order.

For example, they can be called Apprehended Violence Orders (New South Wales), Restraining or Restraint Orders (Western Australia and Australia Capital Territory), Personal Protection Orders (Queensland), or Personal Violence Orders (Northern Territory).

In Victoria, there are two types of Intervention Orders that can be made in the Magistrates’ Court:

  1. A Family Violence Intervention Order is against a person who is a family member of the protected person.
  2. A Personal Safety Intervention Order is against a person who is not a family member of the protected person.

An Intervention Order can be made even where the protected person is in Victoria but the alleged violence occurred outside of Victoria or the protected person is outside of Victoria but the alleged violence occurred in Victoria.

An Intervention Order made in any State or Territory is now nationally recognised and enforceable across Australia.

In family law matters, a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) is the most common.

Family Violence Intervention Orders

There are two types of Family Violence Intervention Orders:

  1. Interim FVIO
  2. Final FVIO

An Interim FVIO is an order by the Magistrates’ Court that gives a protected person short term protection until the court decides at a later date whether to make a Final FVIO.

At the first court date, the Magistrate can either make an Interim FVIO or dismiss the application. A Respondent can also consent to making an Interim or Final FVIO with or without admissions or can give an Undertaking not to commit family violence or do other things as prescribed in the Undertaking.  

What is family violence?

Family violence is behaviour that is physically, emotionally, sexually, economically or psychologically abusive, including behaviour that is threatening, coercive, controlling or dominating causing a family member to feel fear for their safety or another person.

Family violence also includes children witnessing any of these behaviours. For example, a child can witness family violence by hearing an incident or having to clean up property intentionally damaged by a family member.

The definition of family violence is broad. Examples include:

  • Assault, sexual assault or sexually abusive behaviour;
  • Stalking;
  • Repeated derogatory taunts;
  • Intentionally damaging or destroying property owned by a family member;
  • Intentionally causing injury or death to an animal;
  • Unreasonably denying financial autonomy and/or financial support to meet reasonable living expenses when that person is predominantly dependent on that person for financial support;
  • Preventing a family member from keeping connections with friends, family or culture.

Who is a family member also has a broad definition and includes someone who is, or previously has, normally or regularly resided with a person.

A person experiencing family violence can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a FVIO or the Police may apply for a FVIO on their behalf or issue what is called a Family Violence Safety Notice.

What is a Family Violence Safety Notice?

A Family Violence Safety Notice (FVSN) is issued by the Police if a person needs immediate protection.

It will list various conditions the Police deem necessary to protect the person. While it is not a court order, a FVSN operates immediately and until the first court date.

Any breach of a FVSN is also a criminal offence with serious penalties.

Impact on family law matters

Family violence and Family Violence Intervention Orders are relevant to parenting orders sought or already made in the Family Law Courts.

If there are allegations of family violence and/or allegations of breaching a FVSN or FVIO, the Family Law Courts are required to consider these in determining what is in the children’s best interests.

How we can help

Early legal advice specific to your circumstances about family violence, Intervention Orders and the relationship with family law matters is imperative to reaching a safe and holistic outcome. Emera Family Lawyers can assist with all matters relating to Intervention Orders and Family Law orders and provide appropriate referrals where necessary.

How can we help you today?

03 9006 8907 [email protected]

We're here to help you move forward with your legal matter. Understanding where you stand by getting the right advice early will give you clarity and certainty.

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