‘It’s The Law’ – Intervention Orders
I am regularly contacted by clients who have been served with an intervention order and want to know what to do. In this article I will explain what an intervention order is and when a final order can be made.
There are two types of intervention orders in Victoria: Family Violence Intervention Orders and Personal Safety Intervention Orders.
Both orders are treated quite similarly in terms of the application process, the considerations the Magistrate makes before making an order and the possible conditions of the order.
Family Violence Intervention Orders
Family Violence Intervention Orders are used to protect family members suffering family violence. “Family Member” has a wide definition and includes spouses, parents, children, siblings and extended family members. “Family Violence” includes behaviour that is physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive. It also includes behaviour that is threatening or coercive or any other behaviour which controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person.
Personal Safety Intervention Orders
A Personal Safety Intervention Order is a court order designed to protect a person from assault, sexual assault, harassment, property damage or interference with property, stalking and serious threats.
Typical conditions on both orders include:
· prohibiting the respondent from committing violence against the protected person;
· excluding the respondent from approaching, telephoning or otherwise contacting the protected person;
· prohibiting the respondent from being close to where the protected person lives, works or attends school; and
· prohibiting the respondent from causing another person to engage in conduct prohibited by the order.
Who can apply?
A person allegedly affected by the prohibited behaviour (including family violence), a police officer or a third party can commence proceedings by attending the registry of a Magistrates’ Court in person for either type of order.
Interim intervention orders
Often at the initial hearing the Magistrate will make an interim intervention order until they can decide whether to impose a final intervention order at a later hearing.
When the court makes a final order, any existing interim orders will expire, unless the court orders that the interim order shall continue until the final order is served on the respondent.
When a final intervention order can be made
For Family Violence Intervention Orders a Magistrate can only make a final intervention order against the wishes of the respondent if they are satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the respondent has committed family violence and is likely to continue to do so or do so again.
For Personal Safety Intervention Orders a court may make a final personal safety intervention order if satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent and affected person are not family members and:
the respondent has committed prohibited behaviour against the affected person and is likely to continue to do so or do so again and that behaviour would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety; or
the respondent has stalked the affected person and is likely to continue to do so or do so again; and
it is appropriate in all the circumstances of the case to make a final order.
Duration of Final Order
For both types of orders, the court may specify when the order expires and if the court does not specify the duration of the order, it lasts until it is revoked or set aside on appeal.
Civil in nature until breached
An intervention order is a civil matter and will not show up on your criminal record unless it is breached. Breaching the terms of an intervention order is a criminal offence which can result in imprisonment.
If you have been served with an application for an intervention order you should seek legal advice to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. A lawyer can represent you in court and may be able to assist in having the application withdrawn or varied.
A lawyer can also assist you if you wish to have an intervention order put in place against someone else.
Patrick Smith is the principal of O’Brien & Smith Lawyers.
This article is intended to be used as a guide only. It is not, and is not intended to be, advice on any specific matter. Neither Patrick nor O’Brien & Smith Lawyers accept responsibility for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of this article. Before acting on the basis of any material in this article, we recommend that you consult your lawyer.