A Family Violence Intervention Order protects a person from a family member who is allegedly perpetrating family violence. There are numerous forms of Family Violence that may provide grounds for an Intervention Order including:
- Emotional abuse (manipulation, controlling or intimidating behaviour, gas lighting)
- Verbal abuse (yelling, screaming, name calling)
- Sexual abuse (forcing or pressuring a person to have sex)
- Physical abuse (hitting, shoving, pushing, breaching an individual’s personal space etc.)
- Financial abuse (withholding access to funds, forcing an individual to hand over their earnings)
- Social abuse (alienating a person from support networks, restricting a person’s ability to leave the house or communicate with certain people or attend events)
- Exposure to abuse inflicted on others (exposing a child to the abuse of a parent)
For the purpose of a Family Violence Intervention Order the following people constitute a ‘family member’:
- People who share an intimate personal relationship – for example, married, de facto or domestic partners
- Half siblings and step siblings
- Relatives by birth, marriage or adoption
- A person you treat like a family member – for example, a guardian or person who you consider to be related to you.
You can apply for a family violence intervention order at your local Magistrates’ Court in Victoria. If you are afraid to apply yourself you can also ask Victoria Police to apply for an intervention order on your behalf. In some cases, if Police are called to attend a domestic violence incident and feel as though a family member is at risk of experiencing further family violence they may apply for an Intervention Order on the persons behalf. This can occur even if the ‘victim’ does not want the Order or refuses to give a statement or press charges against the alleged ‘perpetrator’.
Once the application is filed, if you need protection straight away a Magistrate can put in place an Interim Intervention Order. This will provide immediate protection from family violence until a Court date can be arranged. If you fear for your children’s safety you can also include them as an ‘affected family member’ in your application, as long as they are under the age of 18.
The person making an application for an Intervention Order is called the ‘applicant’. This may be a police officer, or someone seeking protection from family violence themselves.
When the application is made the person that the Intervention Order seeks to protect is called the ‘affected family member’ (AFM). Then once an Order is put in place the person will be referred to as the ‘protected person’.
Intervention Orders include conditions restrain the respondent from using family violence against the protected person/persons. An Intervention Order may include any of the following provisions:
- Committing family violence against the protected persons;
- intentionally damaging the protected person’s property or threatening to do so;
- attempting to locate or follow the protected person or keep them under surveillance;
- publishing on the internet or by email or other electronic communication any material about the protected person;;
- contacting or communicating with the protected person by any means;
- approaching or remaining within a certain distance of the protected person;
- Going to or remaining within a certain distance of where the protected person lives; works or attends school or childcare
- Getting another person to do anything the respondent must not do under the order.” [i]
If the respondent breaches a condition of the Intervention Order the Police can charge them with a criminal offence and bring the matter to Court. If the person is found guilty of the breach a conviction may be recorded on their criminal record.
Once a Final Intervention Order is granted it will usually remain in place for a period of two (2) years. Although in some more severe cases the Magistrate may make an Order lasting five (5) years or even longer. Once the Order expires the ‘protected person’ has the option to apply to the Court and request an extension of the Order if they still feel at risk.
If you would like further information and advice about Intervention Orders please contact our best family lawyers in Melbourne at (03) 9614 7111.