An Application for an Intervention Order may be made at any State Magistrates’ Court.
Intervention Orders are known in some other States as Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs).
An Application can be made:
- Under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 where there is no family relationship between the Applicant and the Respondent; or
- Under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 where the Applicant and Respondent are family members. “Family members” is defined widely and includes de facto relatives.
Intervention Orders focus on individual safety and property preservation.
Who Can Make An Application?
The Application for an Intervention Order may be made at the Magistrates’ Court by:
- The affected family member (or affected person) if that person is at least 18; or
- By a police officer on behalf of the Applicant; or
- By any other person with the written consent of the affected person/affected family member; or
- If the affected person is a child, then by the child’s parent or any other person with the written consent of the child’s parent; or
- With the Court’s permission, by a child if the child is over 14 in certain circumstances.
What Is Family Violence?
Family Violence includes mainly but is not necessarily limited to:
- Physical and sexual abuse;
- Emotional and psychological abuse;
- Economic abuse;
- Injury to animals;
- Damage to property;
- Controlling, dominating conduct – which cause an applicant to fear for his/her safety or another person’s safety.
A Personal Safety Order can be made where the Applicant fears for his/her safety, because of the conduct of a non-family member. This can be for conduct such as stalking behaviour, misbehaviour of neighbours or misbehaviour of people who are not relatives, threats of violence or violence. The Court may suggest the parties attend Mediation subject to a preliminary assessment as to its appropriateness.
An Intervention Order can do any number of things and commonly:
- Prohibits specific behaviour; or
- Prohibits attendance at a particular occasion; or
- Prohibits a party coming within a particular distance of a location such as a place of work or a home; or
- Prohibits communications with the affected family member; or
- Protects property; or
- Forbids conduct such as following a person;
- Revokes firearms licences;
- Requires a party to attend counselling.
Family Law Children’s Orders
The terms of an interim or final Intervention Order can have a direct and significant bearing on existing or future arrangements about Children or Family Law “Children’s Orders” .
The Family Law Act 1975 and the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 make it clear that in certain circumstances a Magistrate making an interim Intervention Order can cancel a Family Law Children’s Order to the extent that the Family Law Order is inconsistent with the Intervention Order.
Interim Orders may be made in the absence of a party. Once Court ordered restrictions are in place in an Intervention Order, it may be difficult to have these conditions varied without the consent of the other party. It is important that your options and entitlements are explored at the earliest opportunity.
If a Court considers it appropriate, then an Interim (immediate) Order can be made pending further Mention or Hearing. Invariably, the Police serve Orders on the other party.
Penalties For Breach:
Intervention Orders start off as “civil” proceedings. An Intervention Order does not give a person a criminal record. However, a breach of that Intervention Order can mean a conviction is recorded. Once a breach is alleged, the proceedings become a type of “criminal” proceeding.
The penalties for breaching an Intervention Order can be very severe and can include:
Family Violence Protection Act 2008 Section 123 – a fine of 240 penalty units, imprisonment for up to two years or both.
Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 Section 100 – a fine of up to 240 penalty units or imprisonment for up to two years or both.
As at July 2015 a penalty unit was worth $151.67. Consequently, a fine up to in excess of $36,000 can be imposed.
It should be noted that nowadays the Courts and the community regard domestic and similar violence as a serious matter. Consequently, jail terms are common for Intervention Order Breaches.
The duration of any Order granted depends on the particular circumstances prevailing in each case. Often Orders are made for 6 months or 1 year. Orders can be indefinite. Orders can be extended. Orders can be revoked. Orders can be varied.
If you or a family member are concerned for your safety, then an Intervention Order may be needed. Please contact us if we can help you.
Likewise, if you have been served with an Intervention Order Application and disagree with the accusations made, it is vital that you get a chance to put your position to the Court. If the appropriate action is not taken promptly, an Order may be made against you in your absence. Not only may that Order significantly restrict your movements, but a breach of its conditions could attract severe penalties including imprisonment.
The Family Law Team here at Pearce Webster Dugdales have years of experience acting in Intervention Order matters. We act both for Applicants and Respondents. Please let us know if we can assist you.