A person experiencing domestic or family violence can apply for an Intervention Order in South Australia restraining the other person from committing further abuse. The main legislation dealing with Intervention Orders in South Australia is the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009.
The Act sets out how a person can apply for a restraining order in South Australia and provides key definitions relating to family and domestic violence. For a general overview of these kinds of orders in South Australia, read our dedicated article, Intervention Orders in South Australia.
This article provides a summary on how to apply for an Intervention Order in South Australia.
Who can apply for an Intervention Order in South Australia?
A person seeking protection, their representative, a police officer, or an affected child can apply to a court for an Intervention Order in South Australia. If the child is under 14 years of age, a parent or representative will need to make an application on their behalf.
Multiple people can apply for an Intervention Order against the same defendant.
If you feel your safety is under immediate threat, you should contact the police urgently on 000.
A police officer called out to an incident can issue an interim Intervention Order against a defendant if the officer believes there are reasonable grounds for issuing the order and the defendant is present. An interim Intervention Order in South Australia is temporary and lasts until the matter goes to court. This is usually within eight days after issuing the interim order.
Alternatively, you can attend your local police station and apply for an Intervention Order. The police may ask you to make a statement that sets out information such as the following:
- Why you need an order;
- Brief information about your relationship with the defendant;
- Details of incidents or recent behaviours you are concerned about; and
- Whether you know if the defendant has any weapons.
Section 7 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 lists the types of people that an Intervention Order can be issued to protect.
An order may be issued to protect any person who is suspected the defendant will commit an act of abuse against. The protection extends to any child who may be exposed to the effects of the abuse committed by the defendant.
An Intervention Order in South Australia may be issued for the protection of a person even though they did not apply for an order. An order can be issued even if the application was not made on the protected person’s behalf.
Will I have to go to court?
The matter will go to court if the police prosecutor believes there are sufficient grounds to request an Intervention Order. You will need to go to court on the appointed date but the prosecutor will speak on your behalf.
If the court makes an Intervention Order, the police will serve it on the defendant. It is important to note that the order will not come into force until the defendant has received a copy of it. This also means that a defendant cannot breach the Intervention Order in South Australia unless they are aware that an order has been made.
What happens at court?
The South Australian courts have the power to do the following:
- Confirm the interim order and make it a final order;
- Issue a final Intervention Order in substitution of the interim order; and
- Dismiss the application and cancel the interim order.
The court may adjourn the hearing to another date if necessary. This can occur if, for example, if the defendant was not served with the request to come to court.
If the defendant contests the application, the court may set another court date to hear evidence from the parties involved. A defendant will not be able to ask the protected person any questions directly.
If the defendant does not appear at court on the set date the matter may be heard in his or her absence.
Defendants can represent themselves at court. However, it is a good idea to speak to lawyer who can help you prepare and represent you in court.
Types of restraints that may be imposed on a defendant
There are various types of restraints that can be imposed on a defendant by an Intervention Order. These are called conditions.
For example, an Intervention Order in South Australia may prohibit the defendant approaching your home and workplace. It can also prohibit the defendant from contacting, harassing threatening or intimidating you.
This protection can extend to any other person who lives with you, such as your child. Make sure that you tell the police assisting you what you wish to be included in the order. This is because an application for an Intervention Order in South Australia can be worded to suit your specific situation.
An Intervention Order may also require a defendant to undertake an intervention program. An intervention program manager will assess the defendant to determine if they are suitable for the program.
How long do Intervention Orders in South Australia last?
The Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 does not state how long an Intervention Order lasts for.
This means that the order will remain in force until it is cancelled or varied by a court. If circumstances have changed and you want to have the Intervention Order amended or cancelled, you should speak to a solicitor or a police officer.
What happens if the defendant breaches an Intervention Order?
Although Intervention Orders in South Australia are civil matters, the breach of an order is a serious criminal offence. The defendant may be arrested and charged.
If convicted, a defendant can be subject to a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison. A defendant who does not comply with an intervention program may also be fined up to $1,250 (with an expiation fee of $160).
If you have been charged with breaching an Intervention Order in South Australia, it is recommended that you seek legal advice.
For more information, please read Breaching an Intervention Order in South Australia.