What are Intervention Orders? What Do They Mean?

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Intervention orders are designed to protect people who are being harassed or abused by others. They can be used to keep people safe from family members and partners, or from strangers who are threatening them. An intervention order can assist to make the applicant feel safer, as breaching an intervention order is a criminal offence that the police can get involved with. If you require protection to yourself or your family members, you can apply for an intervention order today.

What is an Intervention Order?

Intervention orders are court orders made by a magistrate, designed to help protect you and your family from anyone who makes you feel unsafe.

Intervention orders are a civil matter. This means that having an intervention order filed against you will not appear on a criminal record. However, if someone breaks the rules on an intervention order (for example, by visiting the person who has taken out the order), they can be charged by the police with a breach of the order. Breaching an intervention order is a criminal offence.

There are two types of intervention orders.

  • Family violence intervention order (FVIO) – this is a court order to protect a person, their children and property from a family member, partner or ex-partner
  • Personal safety intervention order (PSIO) – this is a court order to protect a person, their children and property from someone outside their family

Why Apply for an Intervention Order?

You can apply for an intervention order if there is a person in your life who is harassing you, threatening you, emotionally or psychologically abusing you, or causing you to fear for your own safety. There doesn’t need to have been any physical violence for you to get an intervention order. Additionally, the threat does not need to be against you directly – you can also get an intervention order against a person if they are threatening your children, your pets, or your property.

When you apply for an intervention order, it can have conditions to stop the person making you feel unsafe (known as ‘the respondent’) from:

  • Harassing you
  • Threatening you
  • Being near your home
  • Contacting you
  • Damaging your property
  • Intimidating you.

How to Apply for an Intervention Order

You can apply for an intervention order at any Magistrates’ Court in Victoria. You do not need to involve the police in order to apply.

Apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order

To apply for a family violence intervention order (FVIO), you can lodge an application online. There is also the option to call the court to discuss your options, or download the application form and apply in person at the Magistrates Court.

The application will request information such as:

  • Who is the person making you feel unsafe, or the respondent?
  • What is the respondent’s address?
  • What has happened to make you feel unsafe?
  • Why do you think it may happen again?
  • How has the respondent behaved?
  • What conditions do you want in the order?
  • If you have any children or other family members who need protection, what are their details?

Apply for Personal Safety Intervention Order

To apply for a personal safety intervention order (PSIO), you need to contact the Magistrates’ Court and make an appointment. You will also need to fill in an application form.

During your appointment, a registrar will ask for more information, including the details of the respondent and any specific incidents that have caused you to get a PSIO.

If your application is approved, you will receive a summons for the date and place of your PSIO hearing. The police will serve a copy of the application to the respondent.

You will need to go to court for your PSIO hearing. During this hearing, the respondent can reject the application. If this occurs, you will need to attend court for a contested hearing. At the hearing, a judicial officer will hear evidence from witnesses and decide whether a PSIO is valid. If you have anyone who can corroborate your version of events, you should arrange for them to be at the hearing.

Do I need to work with a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to take out an intervention order; however, it can be helpful to receive compassionate and objective legal advice during what can be a difficult and traumatic time. A lawyer can assist you with complicated applications and explain the process to you. They can also assist to prepare you for a PSIO hearing and help you gather witnesses to support your case in court.

If you have had an intervention order taken out against you and you believe this to be unjust, you should also contact a lawyer to help you dispute this in court. A lawyer can advise you on your rights and the best way to challenge the assertions of the applicant (or the person taking out the order).