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Intervention Orders in Victoria

Written by Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is one of our Legal Practice Directors and the National Practice Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master’s in Criminology. Michelle has had a varied career, working in commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. Michelle joined Go To Court Lawyers in 2011. She now supervises a team of over 80 solicitors across Australia.

Intervention orders in Victoria are made by the Court to protect people from abusive, violent, or threatening behaviour. In Victoria there are two types of intervention orders that can be made. The first is family violence intervention orders which protect people from a family member, or someone they have been in a relationship with. The second is personal safety intervention orders which protect people from non-family members, and current or ex-spouses. Both types of intervention orders in Victoria are made by the Magistrates Court of Victoria.  An intervention order is considered a civil matter between the parties, and designed to ensure the safety of a person.  If the order is breached then it becomes a criminal matter, and the penalties can include imprisonment for up to 2 years, and a criminal record. 

Family Violence Intervention Orders

An application for a family violence intervention order (FVIO) can be made against a family member. FVIO’s are legislated through the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. A family member is described as someone who is, or has been your spouse or domestic partner; a person who you have had an intimate relationship with; a relative; your child; the child of your partners; and a person who is ‘like’ family such as a carer. An intervention order is designed to protect your safety, your children’s safety, and to deter property damage.  The orders can prohibit the person from communicating with you, damaging property, coming to where you live or work, and behaving offensively. Each intervention order is tailored for your particular safety needs. Some even allow the person to still reside with you, but there are conditions on their behaviour, and they may not be allowed to return home if they have consumed alcohol. The orders can also require the person to undertake counselling, and rehabilitation programs. It will also suspend any firearms licences. All complaints of family violence are reviewed by the police, and they will determine if an intervention order is required, and whether any criminal offences have been committed. If the police are not willing to make an application on your behalf then you can make an application directly to the Magistrates Court yourself.

Personal Safety Intervention Orders

If you believe your safety is at risk by a person who does not fall into the category of a family member an application for a personal safety intervention order (PSIO) can be made.  PSIO’s are legislated through the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010.  A PSIO is made if you are being stalked, harassed, or if violence is being threatened. If there are concerns regarding someone’s behaviour, but there is no risk to your safety, then you may want to consider participating in mediation by contacting the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.  Stalking can include someone contacting you continually, visiting your work or home, following you, or making repeated comments about you on the internet. The order will outline the conduct they need to adhere to which will include them not being able to approach, or contact you by any means.  If you feel your safety is at risk then report all incidences to the police, and they will then determine whether criminal charges can be laid, or a PSIO should be applied for. An individual can also apply directly to the Magistrates Court for a PSIO to be put in place.

Appealing, Revoking or Extending an Intervention Order

If intervention orders in Victoria have been made against you then you can lodge an appeal in the County Court of Victoria within 30 days of the order being made.  The affected person can also apply to the Magistrates Court to have the order extended, varied or revoked. If the person who the order has been made against wants to vary, or revoke, the order then they need to be granted permission by the Magistrates Court who will review their change in circumstances prior to allowing the matter to be heard.
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