What is an ‘intervention order’?
Intervention orders (or “IVOs”) are a type of ‘civil’ order – they are not a criminal matter at the level of the order itself.
IVOs are intended to protect those who fear family violence, or who have reported experiencing family violence, who are referred to in an intervention order as the ‘affected family member’.
What is Family Violence?
Family violence can be used to describe a range of behaviour (not just physical abuse) which includes emotional abuse, financial or ‘economic’ abuse, and sexual abuse.
It is behaviour that causes a family member to feel fearful.
It can include shouting and yelling, preventing a person from leaving the house, controlling when a person goes or with whom, monitoring a person’s phone calls or restricting a person’s communication with other people.
It can include withholding money from a person or controlling that person’s access to money, if that person doesn’t have money or savings of their own.
It includes sexual abuse and control.
It includes behaviour which is designed to make a person feel upset or worried or anxious.
How do Intervention Orders work?
Intervention orders offer protection to affected family members who have made claims of family violence, by limiting the movements of a ‘respondent’ (the person alleged to have committed family violence) and preventing the respondent from being legally entitled to go to or ‘be’ within a certain distance (often 200 metres) of the affected family member’s home or workplace or place of study, etc.
IVOs will also usually prevent respondents from contacting affected family members, whether by text message, or by email or through third parties texting/emailing. In some cases, where there are children of both parties, there will be an ‘exception’ for contact where contact is permitted by text or by email, where that contact relates solely to arrangements for the children.
IVOs will always have a condition that a respondent may not commit family violence.
How do you get an Intervention Order?
Intervention orders are most often applied for through the Magistrates Court (directly), or by Victoria Police on behalf of a person reporting family violence.
If you believe you need to apply for an intervention order, if the need is urgent, please go to your nearest police station.
If you are unsure, we are very happy to give you advice and urge you to contact our office to speak with one of our lawyers for advice.
Interim Intervention Orders
An application for a family violence intervention order can result in an interim order being granted by the court where it is determined that the applicant requires immediate protection.
If an interim order is granted, this will be in place immediately and the police will be instructed by the court to serve that order on the respondent. The interim order will continue unless and until the court (either) dismisses the application or makes a final order continuing the protection.
If you are the respondent in an application for intervention order, and an interim order (or final order) is in place, please ensure you abide by the conditions of that order.
If you do not abide by the conditions and the police are subsequently advised of a breach of a condition, you can be charged with a criminal offence.
Breaches and Criminal Charges
It is extremely important to treat intervention orders very seriously. For example, if it is a condition of the order that you do not communicate with the protected person, this means you cannot send text messages or have a friend send a text message for you, as such contact will be considered a breach (if there are no exceptions which apply).
Where intervention orders are found to have been breached, this creates a criminal offence. Such offences are treated very seriously and can have serious consequences regardless of the ‘type’ of breach or whether you intended any ‘harm’.
If you have been charged with breaching an intervention order, and require advice, please contact our office to book an appointment with one of our lawyers.
Defending an Intervention Order Application
If you believe an application for intervention order contains false allegations you may consider defending the application. We are happy to provide you with advice and invite you to contact our lawyers for an appointment to discuss your options in more detail.
Alternatively, depending on the circumstances, you may wish to consent to a final order ‘without admission’.
In either case, it is strongly recommended you seek legal advice.
Free 30-minute Consultation
We offer a no-cost 30-minute consultation in relation to intervention order matters.
If your matter is urgent, we will provide you with the appropriate referrals and guidance.
We are here to answer your questions – in plain English – and give you guidance on ‘where to next’. Please call our office on (03) 9379 0877, to arrange an appointment.
Please note – information given above is ‘general in nature’ only and you should seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances before acting.