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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 000 if you are in danger. 

If you’re at least 18 years old, you can apply for a at Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

If you’re under 18 years old, a parent, the police or a guardian can apply for an order on your behalf. Sometimes a magistrate may allow you to apply for your own order if you are between 14 to 18 years old and the court is convinced you understand the process. The court will appoint an organisation to help give you legal advice.

You may need to apply for an intervention order at Children’s Court of Victoria.

It is best to check with a court staff. Contact your nearest court.

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

Here is some general information about how to apply for an order. The process may be different for each person. If you wish to seek advice over the phone or in person, see the find support page.

How to apply and what happens

STEP 1: Check on how you can apply 

If you can apply online

You can fill in an online form if you live in an area served by the Magistrates’ Courts at: 

  • Hamilton
  • Portland
  • Ringwood
  • Sunshine
  • Warrnambool
  • Werribee, or 
  • the Neighbourhood Justice Centre. 

Check for your nearest Magistrates’ Court

To fill in the online form, go to the form page. You can also choose to apply in court.

See below for more details on conditions and including children on the order.

The may call you for more information or to book an appointment date. 

If you go to court to apply, book an appointment 

Contact your nearest Magistrates’ Court to make an appointment for applying for a family violence intervention order. Call the intervention order registry (if there is one) or the general enquiry number. 

If it is safe to do so, it is best if you can print the application form, or get it from a Magistrates’ Court and fill it in before the appointment. If you cannot, let the court registrar know so they can set aside time for you to do that.

Applying for the order can take a few hours. When choosing a suitable appointment, please allow enough time.

Each court offers different support and services. You may want to ask the court registrar what is available. 

STEP 2: Prepare for your appointment

It’s best if you can fill in your application form before the appointment. If it’s safe to do so, you can print the application form, or get it from a Magistrates’ Court.

You will be asked for information such as:

  • about the (the person who is committing family violence), including their name and address
  • how the respondent has behaved, including details about the incidents and why you think they are likely to occur again
  • 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.

It’s good to prepare these documents:

  • dates and times of family violence incidents
  • copies of any police statements 
  • copies of any current court orders, including those from Family Law, Child Protection or VCAT.

On that day, you might have to wait for a few hours. See the find support page for organisations that can help with:

  • how to prepare for your day at court
  • help with the form
  • advice on the process
  • counselling support.

STEP 3: Go to court for the appointment

Let the registrar know if you feel unsafe.

Bring any relevant documents, such as your completed application form.

On arriving, go to the counter and let the court registrar know you have arrived. A family violence practitioner or other support may be available to help you.

A registrar will have an interview with you to help write up your application. Give them as much information as you can, including what happened, the dates, times and places. See the Victoria Legal Aid website for information on the interview.

If you had applied online, you will be asked to sign your application on this day.

If you do not feel safe and want immediate protection, speak to the registrar about getting:

Getting an interim order

This is a temporary order and has the same power as a final order. To get it, you need to see a magistrate. If the court is available on this day, you may be able to do it then; otherwise, you will need to come back another day.

You can ask for the same conditions you included in your application for an intervention order. 

See below for the orders a magistrate can make.

Getting a warrant

A warrant enables the police to arrest the respondent. 

If the registrar believes your personal safety is seriously threatened, or that your property is likely to be damaged, they can issue a warrant. A magistrate may also issue a warrant.

After the interview, the registrar types up your application. Check the details are correct. You will be asked to sign it to promise it is true and correct.

The registrar will give you a copy of the documents, which may be an:

  • application and
  • interim order
  • application and warrant.

STEP 4: The documents will be served

If an application and summons has been issued, the police will the documents 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 should inform you when they have served it.

If the registrar or magistrate issued a warrant, the police will arrest the respondent.

STEP 5: Go to court for the hearing

It is important to go to court for the hearing. Your application may be dismissed if you do not go. 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.

See the family violence matters preparing for court 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 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
  • damaged family property 
  • 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.

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 family law page for information about 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 orders

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 orders

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.

Counselling orders

Magistrates can make counselling orders that require a male respondent to attend a Men’s Behaviour Change Program. 

See the family violence courts and counselling orders page for more information

It’s important that you feel safe. See the find support page for safety tips.

 

Last updated on 26 Apr 2019
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