22 Sep Understanding Intervention and Protection orders in Victoria
There are two types of Intervention Orders for personal protection- family violence and personal safety.
Family violence orders or Intervention Orders are applied for in situations which have involved actual violence or the threat of family violence.
Where personal safety is involved, it can include situations like stalking, harassment or similar behaviour.
If you need to apply for an family violence or personal safety order, you can do this at your local Magistrates Court. Alternatively, the police may choose to make an application on your behalf if they become involved.
An Intervention Order will specify conditions to be followed by the party who the intervention order is against.
These conditions are broadly based on three areas of control:
• Distance provisions
• Property damage provisions
• Family violence provisions
• Harassment provisions
Note also that firearms may be ordered to be surrendered by the party who the intervention order is granted against.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE?
The options available to parties to an intervention order matter are as follows:
- You can consent to an order without admitting the allegations
- The applicant can withdraw his/her application
- You can agree to attend mediation
- You can consent to an undertaking or promise
- Your can contest the matter
STAGES OF AN INTERVENTION ORDER APPLICATION
- File the application -an interim intervention order may be granted at this stage at the discretion of the Court on an ex parte basis (without the other party being aware) in cases of extreme emergency.
- Receive your first return court date.
- Attend your first return date at court where the matter will be examined by the Magistrate and an interim intervention order may be granted at the courts discretion.
- Alternately, the Magistrate may decide that the application has no merits and the application/interim intervention order be dismissed.
- Sometimes a party may request that further and better particulars are given to be provided to clarify the application.
- If the above does not happen, and the matter does not settle by consent or one of the earlier options explained earlier, then a second court date for directions will be given.
- Attend your directions court date.
- If the matter does not settle by consent or one of the earlier options explained earlier, then a third court date for a contested hearing of the matter will be given. The Magistrate will ask if there are to be any witnesses at the contested hearing and how many. Generally a maximum of 3 witnesses will be allowed to attend the hearing for each party to the matter. Further, an approximate length of time for the contested hearing will be determined e.g. half a day or a full day.
- Attend your contested hearing date, with any witnesses you intend to rely on.
- If you have legal representation at the contested hearing they will be able to cross examine any witnesses from the opposing party to the proceedings including the opposing party. Without legal representation you will not be able to do so. This is because the law provides for added protection for victims so that they do not get into a position of being possibly further harassed by having the perpetrator cross examining them. It is advisable that you attend the contest hearing represented by a solicitor or barrister.
- The Magistrate will make a determination as to granting the intervention order or not, based on evidence heard at the contested hearing. The length of any intervention order granted and its conditions will also be determined at this time by the Magistrate.
There are serious penalties for breaching an intervention order and is considered a criminal offence. Talk to us today should you have any questions and we can give the advice that you need.
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