Family Violence Intervention Orders

by Matthew Elvin.

Family Violence Intervention Orders are intended to protect family members who are affected by family violence from the perpetrator of the violence. “Family violence” includes behaviour between family members which causes a family member to be fearful for his or her safety or wellbeing. It can include threats, physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and controlling behaviour.

A person affected by family violence can call the Police. The police will decide if they will apply to the Court for an Intervention Order on behalf of the Affected Family Member.

family violenceInterim (short term) and final (long term) Intervention Orders can be made by the Court. Interim Orders can be made very quickly by the Court and often without any notice to the alleged perpetrator. Interim Orders typically provide protection for a few weeks until the Court has the opportunity to properly consider the evidence and determine whether a Final Intervention Order will be made.

A person can make an application with the Court for an Intervention Order without the police. A date will be set for the first Court hearing. Both parties should get legal advice and compile their supporting evidence for this first hearing.

At the first hearing, if the alleged perpetrator does not agree to an intervention order being made against them, the Court will set a new Court date a few weeks later for a Contested Hearing. At the Contested Hearing the Court will hear all the evidence and decide whether to make a Final intervention Order

Interim and Final Intervention Orders are serious, and both the AFM and the Respondent should obtain legal advice prior to a hearing. Once an Intervention Order is made then the respondent commits a criminal offence if it is proven that they breached any of the conditions of the Intervention Order. Conditions of Intervention Orders often include a prohibition on the perpetrator from doing the following things to the affected family member(s):

  • committing family violence
  • going near their house or work
  • damaging their property or threatening to
  • following or keeping them under surveillance
  • approaching or remaining within a certain distance of them
  • publishing on the internet or by email or other electronic communication any material relating to them
  • causing another person to do any of these things.

If the perpetrator is found to have breached any of these conditions, then they will be guilty of an offence. There is then the possibility that they will be sent to prison. This will depend on how serious their breach was and what sort of criminal history they have. If this is the first time the perpetrator has breached an intervention order, they have no violent criminal history, and the breach involved the sending of one SMS, it is unlikely that they would be sent to jail.

Contact us to arrange a chat. It doesn’t hurt to ask.