What is an intervention order?
An intervention order is a court order made to protect the affected person’s safety. It prohibits the perpetrator from doing certain things such as contacting or coming near the affected person. Intervention orders usually prohibit threatening behaviour such as stalking, verbal abuse, harassment and physical or sexual assault. They can also include an exclusion condition that prohibits the perpetrator going near specific addresses.
Breaking an intervention order can result in a criminal conviction and even prison.
Types of orders and notices
- family violence intervention order (FVIO): An order made by the court to protect someone from violence when the perpetrator is a family member. See the meaning of family member in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.
- personal safety intervention order (PSIO): An order made by the court to protect someone from violence when the perpetrator is not a family member.
- interim order: An order made by the court for immediate protection until there is a hearing.
- final order: An order made by the court after evidence is presented at a hearing.
- family violence safety notice: A notice issued by police if they think that someone needs immediate protection. This can be issued at the family violence incident.
- recognised non-local DVO: A prescribed order made in another state or country that is a recognised Domestic Violence Order under the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme Act 2016 (Vic). This means that an order made in another state or country may be recognised in Victoria.
Does the affected person need a safety notice or intervention order?
Getting an intervention order gives the affected person more options regarding their rental housing:
- To get locks changed, if they don’t have a family violence safety notice, or an interim or final intervention order, they might need to get the landlord’s permission first to change a lock in a master key system. See Changing the locks.
- To end the current lease, remove the perpetrator’s name and, if requested, create a new lease in their name, an intervention order is not necessary in the case of family violence, but if the perpetrator is not a family member they will need to have an intervention order.
- To reduce the time left on their fixed-term lease and avoid expensive lease-break costs, it is possible to apply without an intervention order but it is usually easier if they have one, especially for the purposes of lease-break costs, as VCAT may be satisfied a tenant should not be liable for any compensation or lease-break costs if there is an intervention order in place.
- To get any belongings they left at the property, they can ask for conditions to be included in the intervention order that gives them access to do this. If the affected person obtains an order from VCAT terminating the lease, VCAT can also include in the order that the landlord allow the tenant to access the rented premises to remove their belongings.
How to get a family violence safety notice
A family violence safety notice can be the first step towards an intervention order. The police can issue a notice at any time if they believe that the affected person, their children or property requires immediate protection. The police will usually take the matter to the Magistrates’ Court within 5 days of the notice being issued. The Court will then either grant an intervention order or decide it is not necessary.
How to get an intervention order
If the affected person is over 18, either the affected person, a police officer, or an adult with written consent from the affected person can apply for an intervention order at their nearest Magistrates’ Court. See Magistrates’ Court of Victoria website (magistratescourt.vic.gov.au) for more about: intervention orders, intervention-order forms and to find your nearest court. See the Court’s Family Violence website (familyviolence.courts.vic.gov.au) where you can Apply online for a Family Violence Intervention Order.
If the affected person is under 18 and they are not covered by another intervention order, applications can be made at the Children’s Court by the affected person if they are 14 or over, or by an adult on behalf of a child. You can find out how to get an intervention order, get intervention-order forms and find your nearest court at the Children’s Court of Victoria website (childrenscourt.vic.gov.au).
- For urgent help call 000
- Victoria Police (police.vic.gov.au)
- 1800RESPECT (1800respect.org.au)
- Victoria Legal Aid (legalaid.vic.gov.au)
- Find your nearest community legal centre (fclc.org.au)
What to include in an intervention order
When you fill in an application for an intervention order you can choose from a list of conditions that you would like the court to include.
If the affected person wants to stay in the property or if they are not sure what they want to do, it is important to get an exclusion condition in the order that prohibits the perpetrator from going to the rented premises. Here is an example exclusion condition:
The Court orders that the respondent must not:
Go to or remain within 200 metres of 10 Smith Street or any other place where a protected person lives, works or attends school/childcare.
However, also note that the affected person can apply to VCAT for orders to terminate a lease and create a new lease that does not include the perpetrator as a renter. See: Staying in the rental property.
Access to collect personal property
If the affected person has left the property quickly and left things behind, it’s important to add a condition that gives them access to the property to collect their belongings. To reduce stress for everyone it’s probably best to have access when the perpetrator is not there. Here is an example access condition:
The Court orders that the respondent must:
be excluded from the rented premises between the hours of 9am-5pm on Tuesday 26 April 2016 to allow the protected person to collect their personal property (and take all reasonable steps to allow access to the property).
However, note that if the affected person obtains an order from VCAT terminating the lease, VCAT can also include in the order that the landlord allow the affected person to access the rented premises to remove their belongings.
This information is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
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