Intervention Orders and Family Violence Matters

Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIO’s) are concerned with the protection of family members, partners, ex-partners and children from family and domestic violence.

What is family violence?

Family violence is harmful behaviour that is used to control, threaten, force or dominate a family member through fear. It has a broad definition and can include:

  • physical attacks - hitting, pushing, choking;
  • sexual abuse - pressuring someone into sexual acts, rape;
  • emotional, social or psychological abuse - making someone fear for their safety, harming or killing pets, sending abusive messages or monitoring what someone does online;
  • property damage - breaking, damaging or disposing of someone’s property or belongings – including jointly owned belongings;
  • financial abuse - controlling someone’s money, stopping someone from working, forcing someone to take on debts, using dowry or family finance issues to control someone;
  • threats -to harm people, including themselves, property or pets, to take children away or have them taken away by others such as immigration authorities or Child Protection, to disclose someone’s sexuality or gender identity; and
  • coercive, controlling, dominating or terrorising behaviours - intimidating and bullying, stalking, controlling where someone goes, what they wear or eat, who they can see, forcing someone to marry without their consent, withholding mobility aids, disability equipment or medication, reproductive coercion.

Children, including unborn babies, can also be harmed by family violence in additional circumstances. This can include if a child:

  • knows or hears about family violence that is happening, even if they are not present at the time it occurs;
  • sees damaged property or injured people;
  • knows one parent is controlled by or afraid of the other;
  • intervenes to protect a parent or calms one down.

What are Intervention Orders?

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

  1. A Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) 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.

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

What is a Family Violence Intervention Order?

A Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) is a court order made to protect a person, their children and/or their property (the ‘protected person’) from a family member, partner or ex-partner. This order is made against the person alleged to have perpetrated family violence (the ‘respondent’).

The definition of a ‘family member’ is broad, and can include people that you treat like a family member, even if not related by birth, marriage or adoption.

In Victoria, FVIO’s are most commonly made in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, however, they can also be made in the Children’s Court of Victoria and the Family Court of Australia.

In States and Territories other than Victoria, an FVIO can also be called a

  • Domestic Violence Order (DVO);
  • Intervention Order (IVO);
  • Protection Order;
  • Family Violence Order (FVO); or
  • Violence Restraining Order (VRO).

FVIO’s made after 25 November 2017 are recognised nationally in Australia. This means that an FVIO made in Victoria after that date will automatically apply in every State and Territory across Australia.

Types of FVIO

There are two (2) types of Family Violence Intervention Orders:

1. Interim

Interim Family Violence Intervention Orders provide urgent, short-term (or temporary) protection. They can be made without giving the Respondent any notice or opportunity to respond at the hearing.

They remain in place to protect the affected family member until the court can properly consider whether to make a final Intervention Order.

2. Final

Final Family Violence Intervention Orders are longer-term orders made once a Judicial Officer believes that a person needs protecting.

Final FVIO’s can only be made in the following circumstances:

  • After hearing evidence at a contested hearing;
  • Both parties agree to the Order being made; or
  • If the Respondent did not oppose the Order being made (for example, they did not show up to the hearing).

Both Interim and Final Family Violence Intervention Orders are civil orders, as there is no finding of guilt. However, any breach of these Orders is a criminal offence and can attract serious penalties.

What is a Family Violence Safety Notice?

A Family Violence Safety Notice (FVSN) is a notice issued by a police officer to provide immediate protection to the affected family member. FVSN’s are designed to offer protection to the affected family member until an Interim Family Violence Intervention Order application can be heard.

While it is not a court order, any breach of an FVSN is also a criminal offence with serious penalties.

How to apply

The process to apply, vary or withdraw an Intervention Order varies from each State and Territory. In Victoria, most applications can be made online. Alternatively, you can ring the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria for assistance or fill out a physical application that can be returned to your nearest Magistrates’ Court.

Intervention Orders can also be applied for by the police on a person’s behalf. They can even apply on a person’s behalf without that person’s consent, as they must put the safety of that person first.

How we can help

Whether you are currently suffering from family violence or are alleged to be perpetrating family violence, early legal advice specific to your circumstances will be vital to securing the best outcome. We are able to assist with all matters relating to Family Violence Intervention Orders.

If you are in immediate danger of family violence, you should seek police assistance by calling 000.

How can we help you today?

03 8625 8957 [email protected]

We're here to help deliver a clear path forward to secure your family's future. Getting professional advice early is a great step.

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