Family Violence & Intervention Orders

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What is family violence?

Family violence is not limited to physical violence.  It incorporates many behaviours and includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Physical abuse;
  2. Sexual abuse;
  3. Emotional or psychological abuse;
  4. Financial abuse and/or control;
  5. Threatening behaviour;
  6. Coercive behaviour; and
  7. Controlling or dominating behaviour, that causes a person to fear for their, or another person’s, safety and/or wellbeing.

Family violence also includes behaviour that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to, the effects of any of the behaviours listed above.

What is an Intervention Order?

An Intervention Order (IVO) is a civil Court Order which provides protection to a party and/or children.  It can be a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIVO) where the parties are related or a Personal Protection Intervention Order (PPIVO) between unrelated parties.

Ordinarily, in a FVIVO, the victim, or the person that requires protection, is known as the ‘Affected Family Member’ or ‘Protected Person’.  The alleged perpetrator of family violence is known as the ‘Respondent’.

IVOs provide protection by requiring the Respondent to refrain from engaging in particular behaviours.  They place restrictions and other conditions upon the Respondent, and are designed to ultimately prevent contact, and/or further family violence from occurring.

The conditions of an IVO can be tailored to suit the needs of the Affected Family Member, and the circumstances as a whole.

What is a Family Violence Safety Notice?

A Family Violence Safety Notice (FVSN) is a type of temporary IVO, and a way in which Victoria Police can provide immediate protection and may commence the IVO Application process.

Like an IVO, a FVSN consists of various conditions which prohibit the Respondent from engaging in certain behaviours.

The FVSN takes effect as soon as it is served on the Respondent, and remains in place until the matter is heard by a Magistrate at Court.

When the FVSN is heard by a Magistrate, it becomes like any other IVO Application. 

How do I get an Intervention Order?

There are two main ways to obtain an IVO:

  1. By attending your local Magistrates’ Court and applying for an IVO yourself; or
  2. By reporting your concerns to Victoria Police. In the event that a Police Officer forms a view that your safety is at risk, they may apply for an IVO on your behalf.

When applying for an IVO, you and/or Victoria Police need to specify why an IVO is needed.

The IVO Application will then be considered by a Magistrate.  The Magistrate will make a decision regarding whether an IVO is required in the circumstances.  The Magistrate will also determine what type of IVO is required, and tailor the conditions accordingly.

As explained further below, the Magistrate may grant an IVO on an interim or final basis.

What is the difference between an Interim and a Final IVO?

An Interim IVO is an IVO that is granted on a temporary basis.  When IVO Applications are first heard at Court, they are often heard in the absence of the Respondent.

Therefore, an IVO will often be granted on an Interim basis, in order to allow time for the Respondent to be made aware of the IVO Application, and to seek legal advice.

In the event that the Respondent does not agree and disputes the making of a Final IVO, an IVO will often remain on foot on an interim basis, and until such time as the matter proceeds to a Contested Hearing.  At this stage, a Magistrate will hear all of the evidence in relation to the Application, from both the Affected Family Member and the Respondent and any other witnesses.  The Magistrate will then decide as to whether a Final IVO is required.

If a Final IVO is granted, both parties can have their say as to how long a Final IVO ought to remain in place.  Ultimately however, the duration of a Final IVO is a decision for the Magistrate.

What are my options if I am served with an Interim Intervention Order?

Before a Magistrate grants an IVO on a final basis, they will allow each party the opportunity to have their say, obtain legal advice, and express their views in relation to the IVO.

Therefore, if you have been served with an IVO and are seeking to oppose the making of a Final IVO, it is important that you attend Court to make your position known.

Ultimately, you will have two main options:

  1. You may ‘contest’ the IVO Application and orders will be made for Further and Better Particulars; or
  2. You may ‘consent without admissions’ to a Final IVO.

In the event that you contest the IVO Application, a Magistrate will consider whether an

If you are served with an IVO Application, it is important to seek legal advice in relation to your position, and so as to ensure that you are aware as to how a Final IVO may affect your personal circumstances.

Do IVOs impact family law matters?

Ultimately, the way in which IVOs may impact family law matters vary depending on the circumstances, the allegations made, and the evidence available to substantiate the allegations.

If you require further advice regarding IVOs, or how they may affect your family law matter, please do not hesitate to call our office to speak with one of our experienced Family & Relationship Law lawyers today.

Should you require immediate safety assistance, please call Emergency Services on 000.

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Facing family violence? Coulter Legal provides compassionate support and legal guidance. Schedule a confidential consultation today.

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or call us on 03 5292 4040
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