Family Violence Intervention Order Lawyers in Melbourne - Domestic Violence IVO
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What are Family Violence Intervention Orders?
A Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) is an intervention order that protects you and your children from family violence.
The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines family violence as consisting of a range of abuses perpetrated by a family member: physical, emotional, psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, along with property damage, coercive control and harassing behaviour.
In the eyes of the law, a family relationship covers:
- People with whom you share an intimate personal relationship (e.g., spouse, domestic partner, de facto partner)
- Parents, children and stepchildren
- Relatives by birth, marriage or adoption
- Carers, guardians, or people you treat as a family member
Conditions of a Family Violence Intervention Order
Intervention orders prevent the respondent from:
- Committing family violence (physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and economic abuse)
- Damaging the person’s property or threatening to damage their property
- Following or surveilling the person
- Contacting the person in person, online or by any other means
- Publishing or distributing any material about the person
- Going to places where the person lives, works, studies or attends childcare
- Recruiting another person to violate the order
Protected persons can also apply for additional conditions, such as:
- Returning personal property/jointly owned property needed for the protected person’s everyday life
- Altering or suspending a parenting order
- Any other conditions that will help the protected person feel safer
- Applying the conditions of the intervention order to relevant associates of respondents
Applying for an intervention order
There are a few ways you can apply for an intervention order in Victoria. If you are in immediate danger, make sure you reach out to emergency services as police have the power to give you a temporary family violence order.
Two main parties are involved in an FVIO: the people seeking protection (affected family members) and the other party (the respondent).
If the police attend a situation that involves family violence, they may issue a Family Violence Safety Notice. This serves as an interim order, with the same conditions as an FVIO, and can last up to 14 days. The notice also includes details of the situation and a court hearing date.
If the situation is less urgent, a police officer can also apply for an interim order or intervention order. The Magistrates Court recommends that, in this case, both the affected family member and the respondent should seek legal advice.
Applying at the Magistrates Court
An affected family member can make an application either online or by attending their local Magistrates Court. You can choose to represent yourself or consult a lawyer.
To get an intervention order, you must fill out an application form and give evidence in the court room. The Court may grant an interim intervention order to prevent family violence until both parties can appear at the next court date for immediate protection. After the contested hearing, the Court will either grant the final intervention order or dismiss the case.
If you disagree with the Magistrates Court – whether you are the protected person or the respondent – you can take your case to the County Court. An intervention order will typically last at least a year, though the Magistrate may set a longer period depending on the case.
It is important to note that the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court has the power to make a decision that contravenes your intervention order – for example, if your children are mandated to spend time with the other party. As this area of law can be quite complex, it is always best to consult an expert to ensure that both you and your children are protected.
Applying at Children's Court
Your intervention order hearing will occur at this court if the applicant or respondent is under 18 or if there is a child protection matter.
Violating an intervention order
The Victorian Courts take Family Violence Intervention Orders very seriously. While a respondent will not get a criminal record for the initial Family Violence Intervention Order made against them, violating safety notices, interim orders, or intervention orders themselves is a criminal offence.
Most violations carry a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment, 240 penalty units, or both. For more severe charges, such as breaching an intervention order intending to cause harm or fear for safety or the persistent contravention of an intervention order, respondents may receive 5 years imprisonment, 600 penalty units or both.