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What does an Intervention Order do?

A family violence intervention order protects a person from a family member who is using family violence.

Family violence is behavior between family members that causes fear. It includes emotional and financial abuse, as well as physical violence and sexual abuse.

About intervention orders

You can apply for a family violence intervention order at your local Magistrates’ Court. If you need protection straight away, you can apply for an interim intervention order. If you fear for your children’s safety you can include them in your application.

The person the intervention order will protect is called the affected family member or the protected person. The person the intervention order is made against is called the respondent. Intervention orders include conditions to stop the respondent from using family violence against the protected person. If the respondent breaks the conditions of an intervention order the police can charge them with a criminal offence.

What is family violence?

Family violence takes many forms it is harmful behavior that is used to control, threaten, force or dominate a family member through fear. It includes:

  • physical abuse, such as hitting or pushing a person 
  • sexual abuse, such as forcing a person to have sex
  • emotional or psychological abuse, such as controlling who a person can see and when, or calling them names
  • financial abuse, such as controlling a person's money without their consent.

Family violence is also behavior that makes a family member fear for the safety of:

  • their property
  • another person
  • an animal.

If a child hears, sees or is around family violence in any way, they are also covered by the law. This includes if a child:

  • helps a family member who has been abused
  • sees damaged property in the family home
  • is at a family violence incident when the police arrive.

The police have a duty to respond to all reports of family violence..

If an application for a family violence intervention order is made against you, the police will give you a copy of the application, which will describe in detail what the applicant (person applying for an intervention order) says you have done and/or a summons including details about the court date. In the documents and at Court you will be referred to as the “Respondent” and the person making the Application will be called the “Aggrieved Family Member”. The Police may be the informant and other family members may be included as “protected parties”.

The police may also serve you:

  • a family violence safety notice
  • an interim order
  • a warrant for your arrest
  • a final notice.

The police will also arrest you if there is a warrant.

Getting an interim order

The police can give you an interim order with the application and summons. This means the applicant has seen a and the magistrate believes the person needs protecting from you until the court hearing. The Order does not take effect until the police have served (given) you a copy of the order.

Once you get a copy of the interim order, you must follow the conditions, even if you plan to argue against the final order being made. This is the most important time to see our firm as if you break the order or “breach it” you can be charged with a criminal offence.

Getting a warrant

If you have seriously threatened the safety of a person, the police can get a warrant to arrest you. If you are arrested, the police will usually release you on bail if you agree to:

  • the bail conditions, which are usually the same as the conditions in the application for an intervention order
  • go to court on the date of the intervention order hearing.

If you get a warrant, you must also go to court on the hearing day, whether you agree with the order being made or not. If you do not turn up you:

  • will lose the money paid for your bail
  • can be charged with a criminal offence (failure to appear when on bail is a serious offence and it can make it harder for you to get bail in the future)
  • can be arrested and the police may keep you in custody until the next hearing
  • may be ordered to pay court costs.

Criminal records

You don’t get a criminal record if you have an intervention order taken out against you. You are not being charged with a crime. It is a civil matter, not a criminal offence.

However, if you break the conditions of an intervention order, it becomes a criminal matter. You can be charged by the police with a criminal offence.

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