Minerva has a court support worker who works with the police and courts to assist you to gain the protection you require through the justice system. She can talk to you about whether you want or need an order and whether you require support during the process of obtaining one. You can contact the court support worker by contacting the service on 03 5224 2903.
Obtaining an Intervention Order
There are two ways to get an intervention order if you are not safe from family violence;
- If the police attend a family violence incident they may take out a safety notice or interim order on your behalf. This will mean that the police will represent you at court but you will be required to attend.
- You can make your own application for an intervention order at the magistrate’s court. It is a good idea to seek information and support from a family violence service such as ours or contact a legal service. You may wish to have a legal person represent you in court on the day the intervention order is heard before the magistrate.
There are generally two or three steps to obtaining an intervention order, dependent on who and when the order is applied for.
- Safety Notices; If police attend a family violence incident after business hours and feel that you or a family member are in need of immediate protection they may apply for a Safety Notice on your behalf. This may include a clause that will prevent the person who is abusing you from residing at or coming to your home until the case is heard in the Magistrate’s Court of Victoria.
- Interim Orders; Generally these orders are given if a magistrate is confident that the applicant (you), requires immediate protection from violence until the defendant (the person using the violence or threats) is able to attend court to either agree to or contest the allegations made in the application for an interim order. A court date for a further hearing will be made at the time the interim order is granted and the defendant will be issued with a summons to appear at court on the date stated. Once this interim order is served, the defendant will be legally bound by the terms of the order.
- Full Intervention Order; These are final orders and are granted for a longer period of time. If your partner agrees to the order it will be granted. If there is no agreement, then another date will be set for a ‘contested’ hearing. If this is the case, it is important to ask the magistrate to extend your interim order to ensure your safety until the next court date. If an order application is contested, it would beneficial to have legal representation to support you in court.
Sometimes, the defendant or his legal representative may request that you accept an ‘undertaking’ rather than proceed with an application for an intervention order. An undertaking is a promise to the court not to harass or behave in a threatening manner. An undertaking is not legally binding and therefore offers limited protection. If breached, you may have to go back to the court to again apply for an intervention order. We generally recommend that you will be better with an intervention order.
How Intervention Orders Work
Intervention orders contain different conditions. The conditions you choose affect the way the intervention order works. Conditions one and two mean that your partner may still live with you, but if he/she is violent, threatening or damages property this is a ‘breach of the order’ and is punishable by law. It is your responsibility to notify police of this behaviour.
You can choose to have other conditions that will mean your partner or ex-partner will not be able to come within a stated distance of you and the place you live and attend work. You can also choose that he/she not contact you by any means e.g. telephone, text, email or letter, or allow anyone else to contact you on their behalf (except through their legal representative).
Should I put my children on the order?
You can include your children on the intervention order. This means that they are protected from experiencing any form of family violence. If your child has seen the violence happen to you, then they have experienced abuse even if they have not been assaulted by the abuser. If your children have witnessed or experienced past episodes of violence and/or you feel that your child/ren are in serious danger by spending time with your partner, indicate this by ticking the box at the bottom of page 10.
What if the order is breached?
It is important to report all breaches to police on 000. You can also let your support worker know and we can document the breaches in your file.
Evidence of Breach
As a breach of order becomes a ‘criminal’ matter, it is important to gather evidence of the breach to take to court. Keep a written log of any contacts and how they occurred (e.g over the phone, via email, in the street, etc). Record the date, time, whereabouts and what happened. Try and write ‘word for word’ if possible any conversations that have taken place, records need to accurately describe the event. If threats were made, write down what was said. If you are assaulted ask the police, or medical person to photograph the injury. Identify anyone else that may have witnessed the breach. If the breach was via text, keep all SMS messages to show to police. If via email, retain and print out a copy of the email. If the breach entails visits or contacts outside of the orders parameters, try and video or photograph this on your mobile phone and show this to the police.
What is an intervention order?
This is a special court order to protect you from family violence. It is a court order made by a magistrate in a Magistrates’ Court.
An intervention order sets rules for the violent person.
For example, the order can say that your partner, ex- or family member:
- Is not allowed to threaten, hurt or harass you
- Is not allowed to contact you in any way
- Has to stay out of the family home
- Is not allowed to come near your school, workplace or other areas
If an order is made, the violent person will not get a criminal record. But if they disobey (or ‘breach’) the order, the police can charge them with a crime. This 5 minute film ‘What if the intervention order is breached? shows you how to collect evidence safely.
You don’t have to have been physically injured to get an intervention order. You can apply for one if you have been threatened, emotionally abused, stalked or harassed by a partner or family member, or if they have damaged your property, taken your money, forced you to have sex, or threatened to hurt your children, pets or other family members.
The order can also protect your kids. It can have conditions on it about how your partner or family member can have contact with your kids. It’s important to get legal advice if you have a Family Court order or parenting plan regarding your child contact arrangements.
How do I apply for an intervention order?
You can apply at your local Magistrates’ court or police can apply for one on your behalf.
If it’s an emergency and the court is closed, police may be able to arrange a Family Violence Safety Notice which gives you temporary protection.
Contact us to find out more and to get support.
What if the Intervention Order is Breached?
English - Click here to download
Arabic - Click here to download
Vietnamese - Click here to download