An intervention order (IVO) is a Court order to protect someone who is suffering abuse by another person. It may order someone not to hurt another or to stay a certain distance away from them at all times. An IVO issued in Victoria will apply across Australia.
In Victoria there are two types of IVOs – Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIVO) and a Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIVO). If you or the police have applied for an IVO (the applicant) or one is taken out against you (the respondent) you may be able to appeal it depending on the circumstances. You may also be able to appeal a FVIVO if you are an affected family member.
When an interim IVO is made, the respondent will be required to appear in Court, usually within 5-10 days after the order is made. At this time the Court will decide whether the interim IVO should be confirmed or be revoked.
Types of IVO appeals
An interim IVO is one that is temporary and applies until a Court has a hearing and issues a final IVO or chooses not to issue a final IVO. Generally you cannot appeal an interim IVO, unless the respondent can show the Court that it is in the interests of justice to be heard immediately. The Court will make sure that it has hearings for the final IVO quickly, so an interim IVO should not apply for too long.
There are three main types of IVO appeals. You can apply to:
- Have the IVO revoked, which means it will no longer have legal effect;
- Have the IVO varied, which means you want some aspects of it to be changed, like the conditions within it; and/or
- Have the IVO extended, which means you want it to last for longer.
Appealing a final IVO
If a final IVO is made you can appeal it but this is a special process that will need to go to a higher Court like the County Court. In this instance, the Court will hear the case again which can be a long and complex process. While you are appealing the final IVO it will still be in effect, which means you must continue to abide by it.
It is important to consider whether or not to appeal a final IVO carefully as you will not be able to appeal the decision. At appeal the Court may decide to make the IVO conditions more onerous.
There are several reasons that you may choose to appeal an IVO, these may include:
- You were not at the hearing because you did not know about it;
- You did not have legal representation at the hearing but you now have a lawyer acting on your behalf; or
- You do not agree with the decision made by the Court or some of the conditions in the IVO.
Rather than appeal the IVO you can ask the Court to hear the application for an IVO again. This means they will conduct the hearing again rather than referring it to a higher Court. A re-hearing is often a preferable option because it means the same Court makes the decision and is often cheaper and quicker than an appeal.
You can appeal the following:
- The IVO being made;
- Any of the conditions in the IVO;
- That the Court has refused to make an IVO; and/or
- That the Court has not imposed a condition in the IVO.
Time limits for appealing, revoking, varying or extending an IVO
If you want to appeal a final IVO you have only 30 days from the time the final order is made to make your application.
If you do not meet the timelines for appealing, revoking, varying or extending an IVO you may miss your opportunity or have to wait a long time to apply again. For example, if the IVO applies for 12 months, you may have to wait another year before making your application.
What to expect when appealing an intervention order in Victoria?
There are several steps involved in applying to revoke, vary or extend an interim IVO:
- Step1: Submit a Notice of Appeal, which is a form to the Court. This must be received by the Court within 30 days of the final IVO decision.
- Step 2: The First Hearing or Mention is where the judge will want to know your reasons for appealing the final IVO. The judge may also want to know if you will be represented by a lawyer and how many witnesses you want to call. This is an important hearing because it is where the judge decides whether to allow the appeal to go to a hearing or not.
- Step 3: The Court will set a date for the Hearing. This is where the Court will hear your reasons for appealing the final IVO, listen to witnesses and other evidence that you have. The applicant, respondent, police and any people protected by the IVO have the right to be heard when the Court is deciding whether to revoke, extend or vary an IVO.
- Step 4: The Court may ask for more information or evidence, often called Further and Better Particulars. There may be further hearings after this for the Court to hear more evidence.
- Step 5: The Final Hearing is where the Court tells you their decision. They may also do this at the Hearing if they have all the information they need there. The Court may decide to:
- Confirm the final IVO, so it remains in effect;
- Remove the final IVO, so it no longer has effect; and/or
- Change any of the conditions in the final IVO, like how long it applies for it.
Things that could help your IVO appeal
There are several things that may help your chance of success when appealing an IVO. These include:
- If the person affected by the IVO supports your appeal it may have a better chance of success. This may happen if they have changed their mind and do not feel they need protection anymore;
- Being able to show the Court that you are trying to address some of the issues that gave rise to the IVO being made. For example, if you have received counselling or have undertaken rehabilitation program for alcohol or drugs, these may demonstrate that you are taking steps to avoid the situation occurring again; and/or
- If your child is listed on the IVO and you want to be able to spend time with them.
How a lawyer can help you appeal an IVO
It is very important to speak to a lawyer if you want to appeal an IVO. The legal process is quite complex and there are strict timelines that you need to meet.
Our lawyers have over 20 years experience helping people just like you. Getting an intervention order can be an emotional and stressful experience, so we take the time to listen to you, explain what your rights are in plain English and outline your options. We can represent you in Court and help you get a fair hearing.