There are two types of intervention orders (IVOs) in Victoria both Family Violence Intervention Orders and Personal Safety Intervention Orders are designed to protect members of the community:
- A Family Violence Intervention Order is an order made by the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to protect a person from a family member. There is a specific test applied by the Court in determining whether a Family Violence Intervention Order should be made. The primary concerns of the Court are whether there has been family violence and whether it is likely to happen again.
- A Personal Safety Intervention Order is an order made by the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to protect a person who is not a family member. There is a different test applied by the Court in determining whether a Personal Safety Intervention Order should be made. The primary concerns of the Court are whether the respondent has committed “prohibited behaviour” and whether it is likely to happen again.
What is family violence?
Family violence is very broadly defined to include actions that may not necessarily be a criminal offence. Family violence includes:
- Physical or sexual abuse;
- Economic abuse;
- Emotional or psychological abuse;
- Threatening or coercive behaviour;
- Behaviour that in any other way controls or dominates a family member and causes them to fear for the safety of themselves or another person; and
- Causing a child to hear, witness or be exposed to family violence.
Economic abuse is when a person is coercive, deceptive or unreasonably controls another person, without that person’s consent, in one of the following ways:
Denying the other person financial autonomy that they would have had but for the behaviour; or,
Withholding or threatening to withhold financial support necessary for the reasonable living expenses of a person or their child where the person is dependent on the financial support to meet those expenses.
Who can make an Application for an IVO?
An individual or the police (on someone’s behalf) can make an application to the Magistrates’ Court for an intervention order against a family member. The person in need of protection on an intervention order is called the “affected family member”. The family member who the application is made against is called the “respondent”. An intervention order contains conditions to prevent the respondent from committing family violence against the affected family member. Conditions of an intervention order may include:
- Not to commit family violence;
- Not to attend a particular location;
- Not to communicate with the affected family member; or
- Not to stalk the affected family member.
A breach of the conditions imposed may result in a respondent being charged with a criminal offence.
What is a Family Violence Safety Notice?
A family violence safety notice allows the Police to provide immediate temporary protection to an affected family member. The Police do not need to make an application to the Magistrates’ Court to obtain a family violence safety notice.
If a family violence safety notice has been issued it will provide conditions similar to an intervention order. It is very important that a respondent complies with the conditions of the family violence safety notice.
The family violence safety notice should also contain the details of which courthouse will determine the family violence intervention order application.
The Magistrates’ Court may make an interim intervention order if:
- It is necessary to ensure the safety of the affected family member;
- It is necessary to protect property; or,
- If it is necessary to protect the child of an affected family member.
Interim Orders will ordinarily protect the affected family member until the intervention order application has been finalised.
Breach of Family IVO
In Victoria, the maximum penalty for Contravene Personal Safety Intervention Order is a fine of 240 penalty units or two years’ imprisonment, or both. As this offence involves ignoring an order imposed by a court, the offence is considered serious by the courts and Victoria Police.
In most instances, where the charge is solitary and a first offence, the court is unlikely to order a period of full-time imprisonment. However, if the intervention order is breached with an act of violence, or if the Respondent has a history of family violence, the court will seriously consider whether the Respondent should be sentenced to gaol for a period.
Often a charge of this nature will have other criminal charges attached. For example, there may be an intervention order in place which says the Respondent is not to assault the Affected Family Member. If the police have reason to believe the Respondent assaulted the Affected Family Member, they will likely lay charges of both Contravene a Family Violence Intervention Order and Unlawful Assault.
Penalties that a Court can impose for this charge:
- Custodial sentence (Jail )
- Community Corrections Orders
- Adjourned undertaking
Please contact our principal solicitor Mr Christopher Andrews who is a former member of Victoria Police to discuss.
Counselling and support
24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
Call toll-free 1800 737 732.
13 11 14
Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State.
Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can
call 13 11 14.
Men’s Referral Service
This service offers assistance, information and counselling to help men who use family violence.
Call 1300 766 491 if you would like help with male behavioural and relationship concerns.
Supports men and boys who are dealing with family and relationship difficulties. 24/7 telephone and online support an information service for Australian men.
Call 1300 789 978 for help.
Kids Help Line
Free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25 in Australia. Call 1800 551 800 for help.
Relationships Australia1300 364 277
Support groups and counselling on relationships, and for abusive and abused partners.
To be connected to the nearest Relationships Australia, call 1300 364 277 (for the cost of a local call).
Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline
Victims Services has a dedicated contact line for Aboriginal victims of crime who would like information on victims rights, how to access counselling and financial assistance.
Translating & Interpreting Service
Gain free access to a telephone or on-site interpreter in your language. Immediate phone interpreting is available 24 hours, every day of the year, on 131 450.
Suicide Call Back Service
Free counselling 24/7, whether you’re feeling suicidal, are worried about someone else, or have lost someone to suicide.
Call 1300 659 467 for help.
Australian Childhood Foundation
Blue Knot Foundation
Telephone counselling for adult survivors of childhood trauma, their friends, family and the health care professionals who support them. Call 1300 657 380 between 9am-5pm for counselling services or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline
An Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disability.
Call the free hotline on 1800 880 052.
Bursting the Bubble
What’s OK at Home?
This website for young people has been developed by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria. It has been designed to help people understand what family violence is, why it happens, how to recognise it and how to help others who are experiencing it. Visit website