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Applying for an intervention order (FVIO)

A family violence intervention order is a court order to protect a person, their children and their property from a family member's behaviour. Call triple zero (000) If you are in danger. 

Court can be a complex process. The steps below provide general information about applying for a (FVIO). It does not cover all scenarios. If the police have applied for an intervention order on your behalf, go to the understanding police applications page for more information.

STEP 1: Call triple zero (000) if you are in danger

You should call triple zero (000) if:

  • someone is injured or in need of urgent medical help
  • your life or property is being threatened or in danger
  • you have witnessed a serious accident or crime.

When you call triple zero (000), an operator will ask for your:

  • phone number
  • exact address or location. 

If you can't speak English an operator will organise a translator for you.

If you are not in immediate danger and the police have not made an FVIO application on your behalf, you can apply to the court for an intervention order. 

STEP 2: Apply for an intervention order

If you are under the age of 18 and would like to apply for a intervention order, go to the Children’s Court of Victoria website.

Contact your nearest Magistrates’ Court and make an appointment to apply for a FVIO. Applying can take a few hours.

The person applying for a FVIO is called the or affected person. The person who the application is made against is called the .

Once an appointment is booked and if it’s safe to do so, fill in an application for a family intervention order form. The form can be downloaded from this website or picked up from your nearest Magistrates’ Court.  If you cannot fill in the application before your appointment, try to arrive 30 minutes early on the day.

On the form, you will be asked to provide: 

  • information about the respondent including their name and address
  • information about how the respondent has behaved, including details about what has happened and why you think it might happen again. 
  • the names and birth dates of your children and other family members who need protecting and their relationship to the respondent
  • the conditions you want in the order.

Online application form

If you are applying for a FVIO from the Ringwood, Sunshine, Werribee, Warrnambool, Hamilton or Portland Magistrates’ Courts or Neighbourhood Justice Centre you can complete an online application form. 

Go to the online application portal for more information

STEP 3: Go to the FVIO appointment

If you’ve completed the family violence intervention order form, bring it to your appointment.

If you have applied online, you will be asked to sign your application at the appointment.

You will be asked to read over the application and sign it to promise it is true and correct. If your application is approved, a will give you a copy of the documents. Documents may be an: 

For more information, see orders a magistrate can make. 

STEP 4: Informing the respondent

If an application and summons has been issued, the police will a copy of the application on the respondent. You can contact the Magistrates’ Court where the application was filed to see if the respondent has been served.

If an interim order was made, the police will inform you when they have served it.

If a warrant has been issued, the respondent may be arrested. Go to the custody and bail page for more information.

STEP 5: Go to court

It is important to go to court for the FVIO hearing. You should plan to be at court all day. If the respondent has been served and does not come to court, an order can be made in their absence.

A magistrate may make a final or interim FVIO if the:

If a FVIO is made, the magistrate will read the conditions of the order out in court. A registrar will give you a copy of the FVIO after the hearing.

If you don’t agree with the magistrate's decision, you can appeal to the County Court of Victoria.

Go to the family violence matters page for information about going to court.

What happens next?

The respondent can agree to a FVIO but disagree to what was said in the application. This is called consent without admission of the allegations.

The respondent can also contest the making of a FVIO. If this occurs, you will need to attend court for a contested hearing. At the hearing, a magistrate will hear evidence from witnesses and decide whether a FVIO is made. If you have witnesses, you should arrange for them to be at the hearing.

If an FVIO is made and the respondent breaks the order, they can be charged by the police. This is called a breach. You should contact the police immediately if this occurs.

A FVIO is in effect until it expires or it is cancelled by a magistrate. See the changing an intervention order page for more information.   

Conditions

The order will contain conditions. Conditions are rules that restrict the respondent’s behaviour. The conditions are to protect the applicant and other family members included in the order. 

The application form has a list of conditions for you to choose from. These are some examples.

The respondent must not:

  • damage the ’s property, including things that are jointly owned by the protected person and respondent, such as pets
  • attempt to locate or follow the protected person or keep them under surveillance
  • publish on the internet or by email or social media or other electronic communication any material about the protected person
  • contact or communicate with the protected person by any means
  • approach or remain within a certain distance of the protected person
  • get another person to do anything the respondent must not do under the order.

The applicant can also ask the magistrate to order the respondent to:

  • return the personal property of the protected person or a family member
  • return jointly owned property that allows the protected person’s everyday life to continue with little disruption
  • hand in any firearms or weapons to police
  • suspend or cancel any firearms authority, weapons approval or weapons exemption.

You can also talk to the court registrar if you want:

  • the conditions to apply to an associate of the respondent 
  • to change (vary) or suspend a parenting order.

The magistrate makes the final decision on the conditions that will be in the order.

Breaking the conditions is very serious. If the respondent breaks the conditions, you should tell the police.

If you are charged with breaking the conditions of an intervention order, you should get legal advice.

Children

If a child hears, sees or is around family violence in any way, the law considers that they have been affected by family violence. This includes if a child:

  • sees police in their house
  • sees damaged family property 
  • sees a parent with injuries from family violence.

Children must be included on intervention orders if they have been affected by family violence. Children and other family members included on orders are called affected family members. 

When children are not included in an application, the magistrate will still ask if they have heard, seen or been around family violence in any way. The magistrate may decide to include them in the order or make a separate intervention order on their behalf.

The court may revive, vary, discharge or suspend any family law order made by the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Law Courts. This means the respondent may not be allowed to spend time with the children as set out in the parenting order until the family violence intervention order has been varied or lifted.

Let the court know about any child protection orders

If there are any child protection orders by the Department of Health and Human Services (Child Protection), you need to tell your lawyer or the court. These will affect the conditions that can be in your intervention order. 

An intervention order is not a parenting order 

See the Victoria Legal Aid information on parenting orders. Parenting orders can cover:

  • who the children will live with
  • who the children spend time and communicate with
  • any other issues relevant to the care of the children, such as schooling or medical treatment.
Orders a magistrate can make

Interim intervention order

This is a temporary order that can be made before the respondent is told about the application. 

It is valid until the court makes another order.

Final intervention order

A magistrate can make an order after they have heard the evidence at a hearing. The magistrate must be satisfied that the respondent has used family violence and is likely to do so again.

A magistrate can also make a final order if:

  • both sides agree (consent) to the order being made
  • the respondent has not opposed the order, for example, they did not turn up to the hearing.

The order will be made for as long as the magistrate determines is necessary to protect the safety of the affected family members.

Undertaking

An undertaking is an agreement made by the applicant and the respondent. It is not an order by court and the police cannot enforce it.

The undertaking lists ways the respondent must behave; the respondent has to sign it as a promise that they will follow the agreement.

The application for a family violence intervention order will be withdrawn.

When the respondent does not follow the undertaking, you can choose to reinstate the application. This means, you will not need to fill in the entire application form again.

To have the option to reinstate, you will need to tell the magistrate you want to withdraw the application with the right of reinstatement. 

To reinstate, visit the relevant court.

Further and better particulars

This is a document that gives details of the incidents described in an application for an intervention order.

A magistrate can order to have this if an applicant or respondent asks for more details, or if it will help the magistrate.

Struck out/Withdrawn

The court can strike out an application if:

  • the applicant does not attend court on the hearing day, or 
  • the magistrate believes there are no grounds for an intervention order to be made.

The court can withdraw an application if:

  • the applicant no longer wants to pursue it, or 
  • all parties agree to an undertaking. 

When the respondent does not follow an undertaking, you can choose to reinstate the application. This means, you will not need to fill in the entire application form again.

To have the option to reinstate, you will need to tell the magistrate you want to withdraw the application with the right of reinstatement. 

To reinstate, visit the relevant court.

Order refused

After hearing the evidence, the court can refuse to make an intervention order if it believes there is not enough evidence to support the application.

Last updated on 04 Jun 2019
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