Understanding police applications (FVIO)
If the police sees a person in danger, they will act to protect the person. They may do this even if the person does not want them to, because they must put the safety of the person and children first.
Victoria Police will act to protect people against family violence. The police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence guides the police in how respond to cases of family violence.
When there has been a case of family violence, the police will conduct a risk assessment. If it shows that you, your children or your property need protecting, the police can:
- apply for an application and summons
- apply for a warrant
- issue a family violence safety notice
- apply for an interim order
- apply for an intervention order.
To find out about getting protection from a person who is not a family member, please see the personal safety intervention orders page.
Application and summons
The application and summons is a court document that lists the details of the court hearing. The police can apply for this alone, meaning there is no order in place. There are no restrictions on the respondent yet.
The police can also apply for an interim order (see below). The interim order has conditions to restrict the respondent’s behaviour. This is valid until the magistrate makes another order.
The police can apply for a warrant when there has been a case of family violence and a person or their children or property need immediate protection.
With a warrant, the police can arrest the person using family violence. The police will usually release the person on bail if they agree to:
- the bail conditions, which are usually the same as the conditions on an intervention order
- go to court on the date of the intervention order hearing.
See the Victoria Legal Aid website for information on what a respondent on bail must do.
Family violence safety notices
The police can issue a family violence safety notice if a person needs immediate protection. They can issue this on the spot, and it can last for up to 14 days.
The family violence safety notice has:
- conditions (rules) to stop another person from using family violence (respondent).
- summary of what happened
- date to go to court, and other hearing details.
Breaking the conditions is a criminal matter. See the Victoria Legal Aid information on:
- when a family violence safety notice starts
- what happens when the respondent disobeys the conditions.
The respondent must obey the conditions. If they don’t, this should be reported to the police.
After the police have an application and summons issued, they can apply to a magistrate to make an interim order.
The interim order is a short-term order to protect a person from family violence until a magistrate can hear all the evidence and make a final decision.
The police can apply for an intervention order for a person who has experienced family violence. The police must put the safety of the person and their children first and may apply even if the person does not want them to. The respondent will be told it is a police decision.
When the police apply for an intervention order, they are called the applicant. The people who need protection, including children who have been around the violence in any way, are called affected family members.
There will be a court hearing to decide if the order should be made, and if so, the kind of order that is needed. The police will represent the police applicant and affected family members. Affected family members may need to go to the court hearing and may have to give evidence.
Affected family members can speak to the police about the conditions they want in the order. If they do not agree with the police, they should attend the hearing and may have their own lawyer to negotiate with the police.
Affected family members can also:
- seek legal advice about their options
- have their own lawyer to represent them in court—the police will still have their own lawyer to represent them.
An intervention order is a civil matter. Breaking the conditions makes it a criminal matter and should be reported to the police.
If the police identified you as a person who needs to be protected (affected family member) or a person who has been using family violence (respondent), you may want to get legal advice or counselling. See the find support for more information.
This is not a full list of legislation associated with this topic. See the Victorian Government's legislation website for more information.