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Intervention Orders

What is an Intervention Order?

An intervention order is a court order made by a Magistrate for the protection of the protected person(s) listed on the order by placing restrictions and limitations on the behaviour of another person.

The two types of intervention orders that can be applied for are a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) or a Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO). 

Family Violence Intervention Orders

A FVIO can be made where there is a family relationship or a person is or has been involved in a relationship.

The purposes of a FVIO are to ensure the safety of the affected family member (AFM), to preserve any property of the AFM or to protect a child who has been subjected to family violence by the respondent.

What does family violence include?

The definition of family violence includes:

  • Physical abuse, such as hitting or pushing a person; 
  • Sexual abuse, such as forcing a person to have sex;
  • Emotional or psychological abuse, such as controlling who a person can see and when, or calling them names; or
  • Financial abuse, such as controlling a person's money without their consent.

Family violence can also include behaviour that causes a family member fear for the safety of:

  • Their property;
  • Another person; or
  • An animal.

The law also covers circumstances where a child hears, sees or is around family violence, which may include situations where the child:

  • Helps a family member who has been abused;
  • Sees damaged property in the family home; or
  • Is at a family violence incident when the police arrive.

What is the effect of a Family Violence Intervention Order?

Generally, FVIOs will prohibit or restrict a person (the respondent) from committing family violence against the protected person(s), behaving offensively towards the protected person, approaching (or going near) a protected person, attending at premises where an protected person lives, works or frequents, being at a particular location, following the protected person, contacting or communicating with the protected person, damaging property owned by the protected person or arranging for another person to do what the respondent is not allowed to do as stated in the order.

Personal Safety Intervention Orders

A Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO) can be made by a Magistrate to protect an individual from physical or mental harm caused by a person who is not a family member (e.g. a neighbour).

A PSIO can be made if the respondent has done, or is alleged to have, committed any of the following against the affected person:

  • Assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Harassment
  • Property damage or interference
  • Serious threats
  • Stalking

The order will impose conditions on how the respondent can behave towards the affected person.

What if an application has been made against you?

If you are respondent in an intervention order application, it is important to speak with a lawyer at the earliest opportunity to seek advice regarding your options. 

Generally, there are a number of options for responding to an application that has been made against you. These include:

  1. Consenting to an intervention order – you can agree to an order being made with or without making admissions regarding the allegations;
  2. Contesting an order;
  3. Agreeing to an undertaking rather than an order – an undertaking is a written promise to comply with certain conditions, it is not a court order; and
  4. Ignoring the summons and not attending court – in which case an order can be made against you in your absence.

What happens if you breach a FVIO or PSIO?

A breach of intervention order is a criminal offence, which means you can be arrested and charged by police. If a court finds a respondent guilty of breaching an intervention order they can impose the following penalties:

  • A prison sentence of up to two years
  • A fine
  • A good behaviour bond
  • Other penalties that a Magistrate deems appropriate given the circumstances

How to seek assistance?

If you are looking for legal assistance with applying for an intervention order, or objecting to an application that has been made against you, YourLawyer can assist you. We have a dedicated team of lawyers who have experience assisting with intervention order matters.