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Family violence intervention orders (FVIO)

A court order to protect a person, their children and their property from a family member, partner or ex-partner.

A (FVIO) may be known as a domestic violence order (DVO), intervention order, protection order, family violence order (FVO) or a violence restraining order (VRO) in other states and territories.

What is family violence?

Family violence is harmful behaviour that is used to control, threaten, force or dominate a family member through fear. It includes:

  • physical acts, such as hitting or pushing a person 
  • sexual abuse, such as pressuring a person to behave sexually in ways they are not comfortable with
  • emotional or psychological abuse, such as controlling who a person can see or where they can go, or calling them names
  • financial abuse, such as controlling how a person uses money.

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 an abused family member 
  • sees damaged property in the family home
  • is at a family violence incident when the police arrive.

The police must respond to all reports of family violence. They can act even if a person does not want them to because they must put the safety of a person and their children first. 

Examples of family violence

Behaviour Examples
Physical violence
  • Hitting, punching, pushing, pulling, kicking, choking
Sexual violence
  • Pressuring someone into sexual acts; rape
  • Pressuring them to watch or join in pornography
Property damage
  • Breaking or damaging someone’s property or belongings, including jointly owned property or belongings
Economic abuse
  • Controlling someone’s money against their will
  • Forcing someone to pay or give money to others or taking your money
  • Stopping someone from working
  • Forcing or tricking someone to take on debts
  • Using dowry or family finance issues to control someone
Emotional, social or psychological violence
  • Making someone feel that no one cares or will help them
  • Making someone fear their safety
  • Taunting someone about sexuality or gender identity
  • Sending abusive messages via phone, email or social media or monitoring what someone does online
  • Harming or killing pets
Threats
  • To harm people (including themselves), property, or pets
  • To take children away or to have them taken by others, such as immigration authorities or Child Protection Services
  • To disclose someone’s sexuality or gender identity
  • To post or send images held on a phone or device
  • To get someone deported
Coercing, controlling, dominating or terrorising
  • Intimidating, bullying, frightening
  • Controlling where someone goes, what they wear or eat, when they sleep, who they can see
  • Stopping someone from seeing or speaking to others
  • Withholding mobility aids, disability equipment or medication
  • Forcing someone to marry without their consent

Who are family members?

For family violence intervention orders, family members are:

  • people who share an intimate personal relationship, whether there is a sexual relationship or not—for example, married, de facto or domestic partners 
  • parents and children, including children of an intimate partner
  • relatives by birth, marriage or adoption
  • people you treat like a family member—for example, a carer, guardian, or person who is related to you within the family structure of your culture.

The law also protects a person from anyone who was a family member in the past.

To apply for an intervention order against a person who is not a family member, partner or ex-partner, see the personal safety intervention orders page.

What is a family violence intervention order?

It is a legally enforceable document that aims to provide a person, their children and their property with protection.

The order has conditions to stop the from using family violence against the

Depending on the conditions, the law might require the respondent to:

  • stop the behaviour
  • not contact or communicate with the protected person, or get someone else to do it for them 
  • not go to or stay near the protected person, or get someone else to do it for them.

There are other orders that the magistrate can make, such as having the respondent’s firearm licences suspended or cancelled.

An intervention order is a civil matter. Breaking the conditions makes it a criminal matter.

To apply for a family violence intervention order, see applying for a family violence intervention order.

To find out what happens when the police apply for an order, see understanding police applications.

If you received an application and , or an order, see responding to an intervention order.

Last updated on 16 Aug 2019
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