Unfortunately, conflict between separating couples and others involved in the family relationship can escalate from a simple disagreement to abuse and violence. In such cases, it is important to seek immediate legal protection by obtaining an intervention order.
An intervention order is an order made by a Magistrate of the Court to protect a person from physical or mental harm.
The application is made under the Family Violence (Protection) Act 2008 (Vic) if the violence is between family members or the applicant and respondent have been in a relationship. Where there is no family relationship, an application can be made through the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic).
What is family violence?
Family violence is actual or threatened conduct by a family member towards another family member or property, that causes a person to be fearful or anxious about his or her safety or well-being.
The definition of ‘family violence’ under the Family Violence (Protection) Act is purposely broad to encompass a range of circumstances that instil fear and anxiety in a person and includes:
- Behaviour by a person towards a family member that is:
- Physically or sexually abusive;
- Emotionally or psychologically abusive;
- Economically abusive;
- Threatening or coercive;
- Behaviour that controls or dominates a family member or causes that person to feel fear for his or her own safety or the safety of another person;
- Behaviour that causes a child to hear or witness or be exposed to family violence.
Children may be exposed to family violence when they overhear threats towards other family members, witness or hear an assault of another family member, give assistance and comfort to a family member after an assault, or witness the attendance of emergency officers to an incident resulting from family violence.
Specific examples of conduct constituting family violence includes actual or threatened physical assault or sexual assault, stalking, derogatory and intimidating remarks, intentional damage or destruction of property, intentionally hurting or killing an animal, unreasonable suppression of financial resources or support and preventing or depriving a family member of his or her cultural connections or freedom.
Who can make an intervention order application?
If you experience family violence or you know somebody who may need help, urgent applications can be made to prevent or discourage violence and abuse.
A family violence intervention order application may be made by the family member in need of protection, the parent or guardian of an affected child, a police officer or other person with the written consent of an affected family member.
In urgent situations, the police may take action to immediately protect the person in need without an order being made by the Court. Alternatively, a Court may make an interim intervention order without notice to the respondent.
What orders can the Court impose?
The Court may impose whatever limitations or prohibitions on the respondent’s behaviour considered necessary to protect the persons, the subject of the order. The order may restrain the respondent from assaulting, harassing, threatening, stalking or intimidating the other person and from accessing / attending his or her premises or place of work.
Violence in any form should never be tolerated. If you are facing actual or threatened family violence, our experienced legal team can assist you with an application for an intervention order to help protect you and your family.
An application for an intervention order must be credible and, if successful, can have a significant impact on the respondent. If you are the recipient of an intervention order our lawyers can assist and advise on your legal rights.
If you are in immediate danger or fear for your own, or your children’s safety, seek urgent assistance through your local police.