What Is An Intervention Order + How Do I Get One?

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What Is An Intervention Order + How Do I Get One?

Written by: Adam Wightman l Legal Team


Intervention Order, IVO, Apprehended Violence Order, AVO, Restraining Order, Family Violence Order, Domestic Violence Order.

These are all the names used by people to describe what is known in Victoria, as an Intervention Order (IVO for short).

An IVO is a Civil Court Order which is made by a Magistrate and is between two people, and which prevents one of the parties (known as the ‘Respondent’) from engaging in certain behaviour towards or in relation to one or more other people (known as the ‘Protected Person(s)’).  It is designed to protect people from engaging in physically, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive behaviour, or behaviour that is controlling or threatening.

Who Can Apply For An Intervention Order?

The person who applies for the Intervention Order is known as the ‘Applicant’.  The Applicant can be an individual person, who can also be (although does not necessarily have to be) the Protected Person, or one of the Protected Persons.  The Applicant can also be a police officer, who is making the application on behalf of the Protected Person(s).

The IVO can be made between spouses, ex-spouses, ex-partners and other family members and related people under the Family Violence Protection Act.  This is known more specifically as a Family Violence Intervention Order.  An IVO can also be made between otherwise unrelated people, which is known more specifically as a Personal Safety Intervention Order.

Our family law team at Canny Legal are experts in dealing with the most common form of Intervention Order, being the Family Violence Intervention Order.

What Does An Intervention Order Protect Against?

A Family Violence Intervention Order can provide that the Respondent is not to do one or more of the following things towards the Protected Person(s):

  • Commit ‘Family Violence’ against the Protected Person.  ‘Family Violence’ is broadly defined as behaviour that is in any way physically, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive, controlling or threatening.  It also includes behaviour that causes a child to hear or witness any of those behaviours;
  • Intentionally damage any property of the Protected Person or threaten to do so;
  • Attempt to locate, follow the Protected Person to keep him or her under surveillance;
  • Publish on the internet by email or other electronic communication any material about the Protected Person;
  • Contact or communicate with a Protected Person by any means;
  • Approach to remain within a certain distance of a Protected Person (usually five metres);
  • Go to or remain within a certain distance of any place where the Protected Person lives, works or attends school (usually 200 metres); and
  • Get any other person to do anything to Respondent must not do under the IVO.

In addition, the Intervention Order can provide for other types of restrictions against the Respondent’s behaviour which the Court considers to be reasonable and appropriate to ensure that family violence does not occur.

How Do You Apply For An Intervention Order?

Magistrates Court Application

You can make an application for an Intervention Order by attending your local Magistrates Court in person and providing information as to any instances of family violence that may have occurred at the hands of the Respondent and providing details as to why you (or another Protected Person) feels genuine fear for their safety or wellbeing, regardless of the intention behind the Respondent’s behaviour.  The Court staff will then take this information and formulate a written statement to be included in your Application document.

You will also need to provide the Court with details as to who you wish to have protected by the IVO (i.e. who are the Protected Persons).  You may wish to list just yourself as a Protected Person under the Order and/or you may wish to list other people such as your children as Protected Persons, if they are at risk of being subjected to or exposed to family violence.

Police Application

Alternatively, if the police have been called out to attend an incident where the Respondent has committed family violence, or if a police report has been made about the Respondent’s behaviour, then the police may initiate an application for an Intervention Order on your behalf.

Process + Urgency

If the issues outlined in the Application for an Intervention Order are deemed urgent enough, then the Applicant may be asked to speak to a Magistrate in Court that same day (without the Respondent being in Court or even being aware of the Application) where an ‘Interim IVO’ may be immediately issued for immediate protection.

The matter will then be listed for a preliminary (mention) Court hearing, which usually occurs a couple of weeks later.  The Respondent will then be served by the police with a copy of the Application document and informed of the preliminary Court hearing date.

You can represent yourself at the preliminary Court hearing, however, we recommend that you either engage the services of a duty lawyer (if such a service is available at that particular Court) or alternatively that you engage one of Canny Legal’s family lawyers who are well versed in Intervention Order proceedings.

What Happens At Court When Both Parties Are Present?

At the preliminary hearing, the Court does not have time on that day to hear arguments from either side about ‘who did what and who said what’.  Instead, this is an opportunity to see whether the matter can be resolved by agreement.  In this regard, one of the following four outcomes may occur at the preliminary hearing:

  1. The Applicant may, for whatever reason, decide to withdraw their application;
  2. The Respondent may agree to accept a Final (usually 12 month long) Intervention Order being made against them (and may negotiate a modification to the terms of the IVO and/or its duration);
  3. The parties may agree that, instead of accepting a formal Intervention Order being made against the Respondent, that the Respondent may provide a written promise to the Court (known as an Undertaking) that they will not commit certain acts.  On this basis, the formal application for an Intervention Order is withdrawn; or
  4. There is no agreement between the parties as to the terms of an IVO that the Respondent is willing to accept, or an Undertaking, and as such the matter is listed for a further hearing date and proceeds down the litigation pathway towards a final contested hearing of the matter (which usually occurs several weeks later) where the parties and any witnesses would give evidence by affidavit (and be cross examined in Court) and the Magistrate will determine whether or not to impose an IVO.

Canny Legal + Expert Legal Advice

If you are considering making an application to the Court for an Intervention Order, or whether you are the Respondent who has been serviced with an application, our team who are well versed in both sides, can help.

Get in touch with our team to start the process and see where you stand.

Pictured, Adam Wightman standing with his hands in his pockets and a big smile on his face. Adam's position in our team "Director + Head of Canny Legal" as well, a dark blue circle with a little bit of information about ADam.

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