What is an Intervention Order?
Intervention Orders, commonly referred to as ‘restraining orders’, are protective orders made by the Magistrates’ Court. They prohibit certain behaviours that the Judicial Officer believes may put another person at risk.
People often ask whether an intervention order will go on their record. As a civil process, if you comply with the order’s conditions, it will not go on your record. But, breaching the conditions is considered a criminal matter and may result in a criminal record.
Terms Used in Intervention Orders
The ‘Applicant’ in an Intervention Order is the person who applies to take the order out to protect themselves or another person. For example, a police officer may be the ‘Applicant’ applying for the order to protect another person.
The ‘Protected Person’ or ‘Affected Family Member’ is the affected person, or victim of crime, of the behaviour of the Respondent. The order is in place protecting this person.
The ‘Respondent’ is the person who the order is made against. They have to abide by the Court’s directions regarding certain behaviours outlined in the order.
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Types of Intervention Orders
In Victoria there are two types of intervention orders:
- Personal Safety Intervention Orders
- Family Violence Intervention Orders
Both are ordered in the Magistrates’ Court and are intended to protect an individual or individuals from another person. The main distinction between these two types is whether the order is intended to protect against a family member of someone outside the family.
Personal Safety Intervention Orders (‘PSIO’)
What is a Personal Safety Intervention Order?
A Personal Safety Intervention Order, or PSIO, is a restraining order made to protect a person who is not a family member. An example of a situation where the need for a PSIO may arise is a dispute between two neighbours, work colleagues or a disgruntled customer of a business.
When making a PSIO, the primary concern of the Court is whether the respondent to the offer has committed prohibited behaviour and if there is a risk to the applicant that the behaviour of the respondent will continue.
The conditions of a PSIO prevent the respondent of the order committing the prohibited behaviour/s.
What is ‘prohibited behaviour’?
‘Prohibited behaviour’ consists of:
- Sexual Assault;
- Property Damage (or interference);
- Serious threats;
- Stalking, which incorporates the intentional infliction of physical or mental harm, cyberstalking, and keeping someone under surveillance.
Case Study - Applying for a Personal Safety Intervention Order
A client of Slades and Parsons owned a business who had a disagreement with another tenant regarding the lease of their shared space. The client received information that the shared tenant was sending emails with defamatory information about our client’s business to people in the local area.
Our firm assisted our client in applying for a Personal Safety Intervention Order prohibiting the Respondent from:
- Sending emails or publishing information on the Internet about our client, the business and staff members;
- Approaching or remaining within 5 metres of the business; and
- Contacting our client by any means unless through a lawyer or mediator.
Case Study - Respondent to a Personal Safety Intervention Order
A client of Mr Nick Tehan was a ‘Respondent’ in a Personal Safety Intervention Order with a previous roommate in shared accommodation.
The client disagreed with the allegations being made by the Applicant and Mr Tehan advised the Court that our client would not consent to the making of the Intervention Order. The matter progressed to a Hearing where the Applicant was called to give evidence and cross examined by a barrister Mr Tehan had instructed.
Ultimately the Magistrate found that there was no risk to the Applicant from our client and the Personal Safety Intervention Order was not made.
Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)
What is a Family Violence Intervention Order?
A Family Violence Intervention Order, or FVIO, protects a family member from another family member who is using family violence, or domestic violence, to cause harm.
‘Family violence’ can occur between romantic partners, parents, siblings, children and extended family members. A fairly broad term, ‘family violence’ incorporates physical and sexual abuse, but also includes emotional abuse, financial abuse and coercive control.
A FVIO may include several ‘protected persons’ or ‘affected family members’. For example, a partner and all the children in the family.
Similarly to a PSIO, the conditions of a FVIO restrict the defendant from certain behaviours, including contacting their victim. Although FVIOs can be varied to ensure that contact can continue between the Respondent and the Affected Family Members. For example, a Respondent may have a condition that they can contact the Protected Person/wife for the purpose of child arrangements.
Like a PSIO, a FVIO goes through the Magistrates’ Court. Once the interim intervention order or final order is in place, any breaching of the FVIO is a criminal offence.
Fighting an Intervention Order
When you attend an intervention order hearing, there are several options available to a person if they wish to contest the the intervention order:
- You can “consent without admissions”, which is the act of agreeing to the order but disagreeing with the allegations. In accepting the order under these circumstances, the court is not recording any information about your acceptance of these allegations.
- You can propose an ‘undertaking’ instead of the intervention order. The undertaking is a written promise on how you will act. Notably, unlike an intervention order, breaking an undertaking won’t result in criminal liability.
- You can request a contested hearing. At a new date, your lawyer will present evidence and oppose allegations against you. The court will then determine from the evidence presented from both parties whether the order is appropriate.
- If you don’t agree with the conditions of the order, you file an appeal. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the order’s issue date. This will result in a rehearing, where you can oppose the order.
Case Study - Applying for an Interim Family Violence Intervention Order
Ms Liliana Dubroja’s client had an argument with his wife and the police attended and made an application for an Interim Family Violence Intervention Order with conditions that did not allow any contact between the parties or for the accused to live at the family home.
The client was also charged with ‘Unlawful Assault’ being a criminal offence.
Ms Dubroja negotiated with the Prosecution for consent to a Diversion for the Unlawful Assault charge and made submissions to the Magistrate who sentenced Ms Dubroja’s client to a Diversion.
Ms Dubroja then made an application to vary the Intervention Order and removed all conditions except ‘Not to Commit Family Violence’.
The client then consented to the Intervention Order without admissions and was able to return home to the family house.
Due to the client receiving a Diversion, he does not have a criminal record for the Unlawful Assault charge.
Slades & Parsons: Expert Intervention Order Lawyers in Melbourne
We are one of Melbourne’s leading criminal law firms and have been criminal defence specialists for more than 35 years.
Our experienced criminal lawyers are happy to work through any questions you may have if you have been served with an intervention order.
Slades & Parsons are available to take your call 24 hours a day.
To apply for a restraining order or to apply for a family violence intervention order, we can help you navigate the legal process. We are authorised to take on Legal Aid cases for eligible clients.
Intervention Orders – Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an intervention order?
- How can I respond to an intervention order?
- Does an intervention order go on your record or give you a criminal record?
- Why do I have criminal charges and an intervention order?
- What is the process of an intervention order?
- What happens at an intervention order hearing?
- If an intervention order is made in Victoria, does it only apply in Victoria?
- What happens if you breach an intervention order?