In Victoria, there are two types of intervention orders (IVO) that you can get.
A Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIVO) protects a person from a family member. While a Personal Safety Intervention Order protects a person from someone who is not a family member. A respondent is the person who the IVO is against.
You can apply for a FVIVO if you are over 18 years of age and:
- A family member has committed an act of violence against you;
- The family member’s behaviour is likely to happen again; or
- You fear for your safety with this family member.
A family member can be someone who you:
- Share an intimate relationship with like a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, de facto or domestic partner;
- Are related to by birth, marriage or adoption (like parents, children or siblings); or
- Treat like a family member, like a carer, guardian or someone who is within your family structure within your culture.
An act of violence is where someone uses behaviour to make someone feel controlled or unsafe. It can include:
- Physical violence like hitting, pushing, kicking, choking;
- Sexual violence like rape, pressuring someone to do a sexual act or watch pornography;
- Property damage like breaking someone’s belongings;
- Economic violence like forcing someone to pay or give you money or stopping them from working;
- Emotional, social or psychological violence like calling someone names, sending abusive texts or images; and
- Coercing, controlling, dominating or terrorising someone to make them frightened or intimidate them. This can include controlling what they eat or who they see, withholding medication or forcing them to marry someone.
You can apply for a PSIVO if you have experienced:
- Assault including injury, pain, discomfort or damage;
- Sexual assault;
- Harassment including demeaning, derogatory or intimidating behaviour about your race, sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Property damage or interference with property including threatening to hurt your pet or withholding food or medication;
- Serious threats to kill or inflict serious injury; and
- Stalking including someone following you, hanging around your home or work, putting information online about you, contacting you by email or text or bullying you.
Applying for an IVO
You can apply for an IVO or the police may apply for one on your behalf if they believe you are in immediate danger.
IVOs are issued by the Magistrates Court. To apply you can either do this online or at your nearest Magistrates Court. In your application you will need to complete several forms and complete a declaration where you agree that you are telling the truth. You will need to provide information including:
- Who the IVO is against (the respondent), including their name and address;
- Information about how the respondent has behaved, what happened and why you think it may happen again; and
- What conditions you want included in the IVO.
If you’re applying for a FVIVO you will also need to provide the names and birthdates of your children and any other family members that you believe need to be protected from the respondent. You will also need to explain what your relationship to the respondent is.
Once the Court receives your application they will contact you and arrange an appointment.
At the appointment, the Court will go over your application and you will receive a copy of documents that may include your application, a summons, interim IVO and warrant.
If the respondent does not know about your application, they will be served a copy of it by the police if a summons, warrant and/or interim IVO is issued. If there is a warrant, the police may arrest the respondent and they may be charged with a crime.
A hearing will happen within a week or two and you will need to attend. This is where the Court may make a final IVO. If an IVO is made by the Court this will list out the conditions, like if the respondent has to stay a certain distance away from you and other family members or they cannot damage your property.
Is Mediation possible?
If you want to apply for a PSIVO and the behaviour of the respondent isn’t violent, it may be appropriate to try mediation to resolve the issue. Mediation is where an independent third party tries to help you reach an amicable agreement. There are certain issues that are not appropriate for mediation including:
- Stalking or other predatory behaviour;
- Where there is a real risk of harm, threat or violence; or
- If the police have applied for the IVO.
Appealing an IVO
If you don’t agree with an IVO you may be able to appeal it. Information about when and how you can appeal an IVO can be found here.
Breaking an IVO
If the respondent doesn’t follow the conditions on the intervention order they may be found guilty of a crime and be ordered to pay a fine or even go to jail.
Getting help with an IVO
Our lawyers have over 20 years experience helping people just like you. Being fearful of someone you know or being accused of harming them can be an emotional and stressful experience. We take the time to listen to you, explain what your rights are in plain English and outline your options. We can even help you put an application for an intervention order together or appeal one.