Intervention Orders are made in the Magistrates’ Court under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 or the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010. Intervention orders may be made when there is no family relationship and when there is a family relationship. The Acts above are applied accordingly.
If there is no family relationship involved, an application may be made where the respondent has committed prohibited behaviour that causes reasonable fear for safety, or the respondent has stalked a person. It is required that the respondent’s behaviour is likely to happen again.
If there is a family relationship, applications for intervention orders may be made by the police. It is required that the respondent has subjected the family member to family violence and is likely to do so again. Family violence includes behaviours that:
An intervention order must be made to the Court by the police, by an affected family member, by a parent or guardian of an affected child, or by any other person with consent. Once the application has been made, the Court will serve the application on the respondent. Once the respondent has been served with the application, they will be summoned to appear in Court.
Applications may be made in person at the Magistrates’ Court. The registrar will conduct an interview and may ask very personal questions. It is important to provide as much detail as possible.
Alternatively, an application may be made online on the Magistrates’ Court website. The online application requires a declaration of truth that the contents of the application are true and correct to the best of their knowledge.
If you are concerned for your safety, you may make an application for a personal safety intervention order at the Magistrates Court. You will be interviewed by a Court registrar and it is important provide them with as much information as possible. If you are seeking immediate protection, the registrar may make an interim order or issue a warrant for the arrest of the respondent.
The registrar will act and take reasonable measures to ensure your safety and/or to protect property.
A Magistrate may grant a family violence intervention order if it is satisfied that the respondent has committed family violence against a family member, and it is likely to happen again.
Before their decision, the Magistrate must also consider whether any children have been subjected to family violence by the respondent. The Court will also act to protect the child from witnessing, experiencing or being exposed to family violence by the respondent. Accordingly, the Court will need to decide whether the child is to be included in the order.
The Magistrate will make the order if the respondent has committed prohibited behaviour that has caused the affected person to fear for their safety and/or wellbeing. Further, the Court may grant the order if the affected person is being stalked by the respondent.
Breaching an intervention order is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment.
However, if a person knowingly or intends cause physical harm or mental harm or fear of safety while breaching the order, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.
Further, if a person breaches a family intervention order on at least 3 occasions within 28 days, they may face a charge of persistent breach of an intervention order which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
If you are the respondent to a person’s application for an intervention order, you do have some options.
You may consent to the order sought without admitting any of the allegations against you. It is important to know that an order/orders will still be made against you, and you must oblige to the orders and act to breach the orders. You will still be subject to possible criminal penalty if you breach the orders.
Another option is an undertaking, which is a signed promise to the Court that you will not engage in the alleged behaviours and will adhere to certain conditions. Undertakings may only apply with consent of the applicant. Undertakings work as a substitute for an intervention order; however, the initial applicant has the right to reinstate the intervention order application if you do not oblige with the undertaking. Generally, you will be required to give evidence on oath to abide by the undertaking, an any breach will constitute a contempt of court and will be dealt with as such.
If you do not consent to the intervention order and wish to contest, you may request to proceed to a hearing. Generally, an interim order will be made until the hearing date, which you must oblige by, however negotiations may occur for the conditions of the interim order. If the matter has still not settled in the interim and you still do not consent to the intervention order, then you will proceed to a hearing where the applicant will need to satisfy the Court that an intervention order should be granted.