In their report into family violence, the Magistrates Court of Victoria found that 50,208 family violence intervention orders were finalised in the 2014/15 period. That is a 49% increase on the numbers reported in 2008/9. The reasons for this are complex, but the two main factors that have contributed these numbers are:
- An increase in the reporting of family violence to Police
- Police taking reports of family violence more seriously
As you can see, these developments don’t necessarily mean that there is more family violence. Rather, they suggest that Australians are taking a tougher line on the issue of domestic violence.
Thanks to increased social and community education, Australians are working together to stamp out violent behaviour in the home. The increased prominence of intervention orders is just another sign of this trend.
What is a Family Intervention Order?
The purpose of a family violence intervention order is to ensure the safety of a family member or child who is at risk of or has been subjected to family violence.
Under family law, an intervention order restricts the alleged offender from certain behaviours.
An intervention order may prohibit or restrict a person from things related to the protected person. This can include things such as approaching the person, contacting the person, following the person, attending the same premises, or behaving offensively towards the protected person. It can also direct the respondent to participate in prescribed counselling.
How to Apply
An application for an intervention order can be made at any Magistrates’ Court location in Victoria, as well as a Neighbourhood Justice Centre.
It is not only the affected person (victim) who can apply. Any other person with the written consent of the affected family member can also apply, as well as a member of the Police.
The court will issue a family intervention order if it feels that it is necessary to ensure the safety of the affected family member or their property, or to protect a child who has been subjected to family violence.
Is an Intervention Order a Criminal Charge?
At the stage of placing an intervention order, the matter is still considered civil issue between two parties.
However, if a family violence intervention order is breached, the respondent may then be charged with a criminal offence. The penalties can be strict, including a fine of up to $24,000, two years imprisonment, or both.
Legal Help with Intervention Orders
If you or someone close to you is at risk of family violence, or you are considering the implications of an intervention order, we can help.
At Robert Wood and Associates, we have more than 36 years of experience practicing family law in Melbourne. You can trust us to guide all parties towards a fair and just outcome.
Call us on (03) 9762 3877 or contact us online.