Often during the breakdown of a relationship, a Family Violence Intervention Orders (IVO) may be obtained by a former partner (known as the Affected Family Member).
An application for an Intervention Order may be made in person by the affected family member in Court or by the Police if they are called to an incident of family violence. The order is usually made on an interim basis without you attending Court. If you have been served with an Interim Intervention Order you must abide by the terms contained in the Order.
An Intervention Order will usually contain some or all of the following terms:
- You must not commit Family Violence against the protected person;
- You must not attempt to follow, locate or keep a protected person under surveillance;
- You must not publish on the internet, by email or other electronic communication any material about the protected person;
- You must not contact or communicate with a protected person by any means;
- You must not approach within a certain distance of the protected person;
- You must not go to, or remain within a certain distance of a property;
- You must not get any other person to do anything you must not do under the order.
Not all Intervention Orders contain the same restrictions or provision and an Order is generally tailored based on the allegations made against you to ensure the protected person is adequately protected.
When you are served with the order by the Police, the terms should be explained to you. You must not do anything prohibited by the Intervention Order, if you do you may be charged with a Breach of an Intervention Order, which is a criminal offence s123 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The maximum penalty if you are found guilty of breaching an Intervention Order is 2 years imprisonment or a fine of $39,000.
When you are served with the Interim Intervention Order, you will be notified of a Court date at the Magistrates’ Court local to the person who has taken out the Intervention Order against you (the protected person). You are not required to attend this Hearing, but we advise all clients to attend the hearing with representation.
At this Hearing you will be able to contest the order if you do not think the allegations have any merits and the Order is not justified. You may choose to consent to the Intervention Order without admissions, this means that you do not accept the allegations or the need for the Order but the Order is still made against you. We recommend that you speak to one of our lawyers prior to this hearing to ensure that you receive advice on the best course of action and protection. Where possible Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers will attempt to negotiate the withdrawal of the Intervention Order or find a ground of compromise with the other party.
If your matter proceeds beyond this initial hearing to a contested hearing, you will be required to present evidence before the Magistrate. You are likely to be placed in the witness box and questioned by the other parties’ lawyer, barrister or a Police Prosecutor. Our firm will ensure that you have a barrister who specialises in Family Violence Intervention Orders to represent your interests at the Hearing. If you do not have representation you are at a disadvantage as you will not be permitted to question the affected family member without leave of the Court and therefore you will be unable to challenge any evidence provided by the other party.
If you are served with an Intervention Order you should contact our office as soon possible to seek advice in relation to your options moving forward through the Court process. You should contact our office to make an appointment on 9320 3900 or email [email protected].
The information in this blog does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by you. If you require advice specific to your situation you must contact Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers for legal advice. The contents of this blog are relevant as at 2 March 2018. We recommend you obtain specific advice relevant to you and your family’s situation.
By Sarah Damon