During an intervention order hearing, the court assesses whether an intervention order should be granted or denied.
In Victoria, intervention order hearings are held in the Magistrates’ Court. Both the applicant and the respondent are given the opportunity to present their case to the Magistrate. If an intervention order is granted, a number of legal restrictions are usually imposed upon the respondent.
Regardless of whether you are applying for or responding to an intervention order, it is important that you properly prepare for your hearing. It is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in intervention order hearings. Doing so will give you the best chance at attaining a favourable outcome.
If you are required to attend an intervention order hearing in Melbourne or regional Victoria, please contact Sher Criminal Lawyers. Our team of legal experts specialise in intervention orders and can help you apply or respond to FVIO’s and PSIO’s. We can assess the strength of your case, advise you of your options and represent you in the Magistrates’ or Children’s Court of Victoria.
Please note that this article is not legal advice. It only presents general information.
Family Violence and Personal Safety Intervention Orders
What is an Intervention Order?
An intervention order is “a court order which protects a person or persons and their property (the protected) from the aggressive or harassing behaviour of another person (the respondent).”
If the Magistrates’ Court grants an intervention order, legal conditions are usually imposed upon the respondent. These legal conditions are designed to protect the applicant from the respondent. For example, an intervention order might prohibit the respondent from:
- Committing family violence
- Visiting or residing in certain addresses
- Contacting or approaching certain people
- Dealing with certain personal property
- Holding a firearm license
Should the respondent breach any of the conditions listed in the intervention order, they may be arrested and criminally charged under the relevant Act.
Intervention Orders in Victoria
In Victoria, there are two types of intervention orders:
- Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)
- Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO)
The Magistrates’ Court will grant a FVIO in circumstances where the applicant or their property (which can include pets) need to be protected from the abusive or harassing behaviour of a family member (the respondent). FVIO’s are legislated under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). For more information about what sort of behaviour qualifies as “family violence”, please visit Intervention Orders in Victoria.
A PSIO is slightly different. It is granted in circumstances where the applicant needs protection from the abusive or harassing behaviour (called “prohibited behaviour”) of a person who is not a family member (e.g. a stranger, neighbour, colleague, etc.). PSIO’s are legislated under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic). For more information about Personal Safety Intervention Orders, please visit Intervention Orders in Victoria.
The hearing procedure in regard to both types of intervention orders is very similar.
Preparing for an Intervention Order Hearing (Victoria): Applicant
The Application Process
There are numerous ways that you can apply for an intervention order in Victoria.
Applying at the Magistrates’ Court
You can apply in person at the nearest Magistrates’ Court (or online in FVIO matters). When doing so, you can choose to be represented by a lawyer or represent yourself. You will have to fill out an application form and have an appointment with the registrar at the Magistrates’ Court. Usually, you must give evidence in the court room in support of your application. The Magistrate can then make an interim order to protect you (and possibly your other family members) until the date of the court hearing. It is a crime for the respondent to contravene an interim order.
The police can apply for an intervention order on your behalf. They will do so if they believe that you need protection from the respondent. For example, this might happen if the police attend a situation involving family violence. In this case, the police will either apply to the Court for a summons inviting the respondent to court, or a warrant to arrest compelling the respondent to come to court, or in urgent cases, will issue the respondent with a Family Violence Safety Notice. The Notice essentially acts as an application to the Magistrates’ Court on your behalf. The Notice also acts as a summons for the respondent to attend court on a set date. Finally, the Notice acts as an interim intervention order and imposes certain legal restrictions upon the respondent.
Court Procedure During the Intervention Order Hearing
How to Get an Intervention Order
Once an application has been made, both the respondent and you will receive a summons to attend the Magistrates’ Court on a set hearing date, whether or not an interim order is made
In the case of a family violence intervention order (FVIO) hearing, the Magistrate will only make a final intervention order if they are satisfied that:
- The respondent has committed family or domestic violence; and
- The respondent is likely to do so again.
Similarly, in the case of a personal safety intervention order (PSIO) hearing, the Magistrate will only grant a final intervention order if they are satisfied that:
- The respondent has previously committed prohibited behaviour against you;
- The respondent is likely to do so again; and
- The respondent’s conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety.
Proving that an Intervention Order is Necessary
During the intervention order hearing, you must prove to the Magistrate that the respondent:
- Has acted in a violent, aggressive, harassing or prohibited manner in the past; and
- Is likely to do so again.
This is why it is beneficial to be represented by an experienced intervention order lawyer who knows how to prove these points. Your lawyer can help you to collect relevant evidence such as witness testimony, photos, text messages, medical records and more. The lawyer can then present this evidence to the Court in a convincing manner.
Choosing an Intervention Order Lawyer
As an applicant, it is important that you seek legal advice before attending your intervention order hearing. When preparing for your hearing, a lawyer can help you to understand:
- What you need to prove;
- Which evidence is admissible; and
- The specific conditions that you want to have imposed against the respondent.
Without proper legal advice, you might miss important evidence. Every piece of evidence plays an important role in helping you to achieve a favourable outcome. Further, an experienced intervention order lawyer can help you to ensure that you receive maximum protection from the respondent.
Please contact Sher Criminal Lawyers if you are required to attend an intervention order hearing in Melbourne or regional Victoria. Our specialist intervention order lawyers can help you to seek protection for you and your family. We are highly experienced in intervention order matters and can present a strong argument to the Magistrates’ Court on your behalf. Our team is here to help and offers free consultations.
Preparing for an Intervention Order Hearing (Victoria): Respondent
If you have been listed as the respondent in an intervention order hearing, the police will likely serve you with a copy of the application or family violence safety notice. You will be given a summons or bailed to attend the intervention order hearing on a certain date (if the police made an application to the Court), or a copy of the safety notice if the police issued a family violence safety notice. The intervention order hearing will take place at the Magistrates’ Court listed on the summons or notice.
Court Procedure During the Intervention Order Hearing
Your Options When Responding
During the intervention order hearing, the respondent may choose to:
- Consent to the intervention order to being made; or
- Argue against the intervention order being made.
The Magistrate may also provide the respondent with the opportunity to agree to an undertaking.
If you consent to the intervention order and admit the allegations made against you, you are agreeing to the allegations made by the applicant. This may result in overly-restrictive or unnecessary conditions being imposed upon you. It is important that you seek legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer before consenting to an intervention order.
Alternatively, if you consent to the intervention but deny the allegations against you,
The Magistrate may give you the opportunity to agree to an undertaking. An undertaking is a formal written promise that you will not engage in the behaviour alleged in the application against you. You make the promise to both the applicant and the Magistrate.
Fighting an Intervention Order
If you choose to contest the application for a final intervention order, you may demonstrate that the applicant has failed to prove the criteria necessary for an order to be made. You could do that by proving to the Magistrate that:
- There is no evidence to suggest that you have previously committed family/domestic violence or prohibited behaviour; or
- You are not likely to act in that way again.
In the case of a PSIO, you may also argue that your conduct would not cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety.
To fight an intervention order, you may need to demonstrate that the applicant’s evidence is irrelevant, false or unpersuasive. This is why it is important to seek legal advice before attending the intervention order hearing. An experienced intervention order lawyer can advise you on the strength of your case and your options as a respondent. If you attend the hearing unprepared, you may be subjected to excessive orders.
Please contact Sher Criminal Lawyers if you are required to attend an intervention order hearing in Melbourne or regional Victoria. Our specialist intervention order lawyers can help you to respond and advise you of your options. We are highly experienced in intervention order matters and can present a strong argument to the Magistrates’ Court on your behalf. Our team is here to help and offers free consultations.