Family violence is a serious issue that affects countless individuals and families. In an effort to provide protection and prevent further harm, the legal system offers a mechanism known as a Family Violence Intervention Order. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the key aspects of intervention orders, including their purpose, application process, making of the order, breaches, and the importance of legal guidance.
What is a Family Violence Intervention Order?
A Family Violence Intervention Order is a legal document issued by a court to prevent a person from committing acts of family violence against another individual. While this order doesn’t result in a criminal record for the perpetrator, it serves as a vital tool to curtail further instances of family violence. If the person subject to the order violates its terms, the situation can escalate into a criminal matter.
Obtaining an Intervention Order
Securing an Intervention Order involves a few critical steps. Although a lawyer can offer guidance, the applicant is responsible for initiating the process. There are two main ways to apply for an Intervention Order:
1. Self-Initiated Intervention Order
An individual can personally apply for an Intervention Order by completing the necessary application forms and submitting them to the Magistrates’ Court.
2. Police Initiated Safety Notice
In cases where there is concern for an individual’s safety, Victoria Police can apply for an Intervention Order on their behalf, even for a child. If you find yourself in such a situation, you can visit your local police station to seek assistance.
Once the application for an Intervention Order or an Interim Intervention Order is submitted, it will be served to the family member against whom the allegations have been made (referred to as “the Respondent”). A court date will be scheduled, providing the Respondent with an opportunity to address the order’s potential issuance.
The Making of an Intervention Order
The process of obtaining an Intervention Order involves several steps, with the final determination made during a court hearing before the Magistrates’ Court. The following are the key stages:
An individual applies for an Intervention Order.
2. Court Hearing:
A court hearing is held to assess the evidence and decide whether to issue the Intervention Order.
3. Respondent’s Response:
The Respondent has a chance to respond during the court hearing.
4. Interim Intervention Order:
If immediate protection is needed, an application for an Interim Intervention Order can be made on the same day the initial application is submitted.
Legal Representation and Court Hearings
It’s important to recognize that court hearings related to Intervention Orders can be emotionally taxing and overwhelming. Seeking legal advice and representation is crucial to fully understand your options and navigate the legal process effectively. Having a legal professional by your side can ease the stress and uncertainty associated with court proceedings.
Breaching an Intervention Order
When a Respondent violates the terms of an Intervention Order, it’s considered a breach, and law enforcement takes this matter seriously. Breaching court orders is a criminal offense, prompting police investigations. Consequences for breaching an Intervention Order can include substantial fines or even imprisonment.
If you believe that a Respondent has breached an Intervention Order, you can report the incident at your local police station. It’s advisable to gather as much evidence as possible, such as maintaining a diary or record of the incidents.
Protecting Your Rights and Seeking Guidance
If allegations of breaching an Intervention Order have been leveled against you, seeking legal counsel is imperative to understand your options for responding to the allegations. Family violence cases are complex, and the guidance of an experienced legal professional can make a significant difference in your case’s outcome.
In conclusion, Family Violence Intervention Orders play a crucial role in protecting individuals from harm and preventing further family violence incidents. By understanding the application process, the significance of legal representation, and the implications of breaching an order, individuals can navigate these challenging situations more effectively. Remember that seeking help, whether as an applicant or a Respondent, is a vital step toward ensuring safety and pursuing justice.