Breach of an Intervention Order in South Australia
Updated on Mar 27, 2023 • 5 min read • 314 views • Copy Link
Breach of an Intervention Order in South Australia
The offence of breaching an Intervention Order is set out in section 31 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009. It is a serious criminal offence that can attract a fine or a term of imprisonment, as well as other penalties. This page deals with breaches of intervention orders in South Australia.
What is an intervention order?
An Intervention Order places restrictions on a person (the defendant). These restrictions may prohibit the defendant from contacting the protected person or from attending premises where the protected person is likely to be, among other conditions.
An Intervention Order operates as soon as it is served on the defendant.
What to do if an intervention order is breached
It is a criminal offence to breach an Intervention Order. If you are the protected person in an intervention order and you believe the defendant has breached the order, you should inform the South Australian Police as soon as possible. Keep any evidence of the breach such as text messages or voice messages to give to the police.
If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 000.
What happens if I breach an Intervention Order in South Australia?
An Intervention Order is a civil matter between two parties; however, a breach of an order is a criminal offence and if you are found guilty, you will receive a conviction.
If you have been found to have breached an Intervention Order, a court may order you to undertake an intervention program under section 13 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009. If you do not comply with the intervention program order, you would then be guilty of a further offence.
If you have breached an Intervention Order, a lawyer can advise you as to whether there are any available defences. Some of the defence to breaching an order are outlined below.
Mistake of fact
Breaching an intervention order is an offence of strict liability. This means that the accused does not need to have had a particular mental state (such as intent) in order to be found guilty. However, they must have committed the offence knowingly.
If a person does an act that breaches an order because of an honest and reasonable but mistaken belief, they are not guilty of an offence. Examples include where a defendant approached the protected person mistaking them for someone else or where the defendant attended premises where the protected person works under a mistaken belief that they did not work there.
A person is not guilty of an offence for an act that breaches an order if it came about accidentally. For example, if there is an intervention order that prohibits the defendant from having contact with the protected person and the two parties pass in the street, no offence has occurred. However, if the defendant attempted to talk to the protected person in this example, this would be a breach.
A person is not guilty of an offence if they commit an act only because they were essentially ‘forced’ by someone else to do it. If a person is charged with a breach that was committed under duress, they have a defence.
What if I want to change the conditions in an Intervention Order?
If you are a defendant and want to change one or more of the conditions in interim Intervention Order you can apply to the court to ask for changes to the order. It may be possible to have the order removed altogether.
An Intervention Order can affect you in a number of ways, such as in family law proceedings. If you have a firearms licence, this may be affected by the making of an order. It may also affect your contact with your children.
A lawyer can give you advice on how you can seek changes to an interim Intervention Order and may be able to assist you in having the order amended to make it less restrictive.
It is important to note that once a court has confirmed an Intervention Order in South Australia, a party cannot apply to the court to amend or revoke the order for at least 12 months.
When does an Intervention Order in South Australia expire?
Intervention Orders in South Australia do not have an expiry date.
An order continues to operate until it is cancelled or altered by a court. If you are uncertain about the conditions of the order or when it stops operating, you should ask your lawyer to explain the conditions of the order.
What if the protected person contacts me?
A protected person in South Australia cannot be found guilty of aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring a defendant to breach an Intervention Order. If a protected person sends a defendant a text message and the defendant replies, they are contravening the order and may be charged with a breach. The protected person cannot be charged with an offence.
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