If you urgently need protection, call the Police on 000.
An Intervention Order (formerly known as a Restraining Order) is a Court order which helps protect you and your family if you are a victim(s) of abuse. A properly worded Intervention Order will not only prohibit a person (the defendant) from behaving in a certain manner towards the protected person(s) but can also order the defendant to comply with certain directions including not being allowed to be within say 100m from the protected person(s).
Any person can be protected by an Intervention Order. The applicant does not need to be the person who requires protection, for example, a parent may make an application for a child who may need protection from another person. The applicant can be the Police, anyone who has suffered from abuse or is concerned about their safety and well-being including a child who may hear or witness abuse.
On 25 November 2017 laws were introduced across Australia to ensure that all Intervention Orders (which are domestic violence related) made after those law were introduced will be nationally recognised and enforceable. In other words, the Intervention Orders will apply wherever the protected person may be in Australia regardless of which Court issued the orders.
An Intervention Order can be issued by the Police which will become effective as soon as the defendant is notified of the existence of the order without the need for the defendant to attend court first. If the Police do not grant an Intervention Order or if you don’t require immediate protection, you can apply for a Private Intervention Order. Before granting an Intervention Order, the Court must be satisfied that it is reasonable to suspect that the defendant will commit an act of abuse or violence towards the applicant or the nominated protected person(s).
Initially, the Court will usually make an interim Intervention Order, which once made will ordinarily require the defendant to appear in Court (usually within approximately 8 days of the date of the interim Intervention Order) for the Court to decide if the Order should be confirmed (ongoing) or revoked.
A defendant is entitled to challenge the Intervention Order, however, if it is confirmed it will remain in place for the period noted on the Order which could be as little as 12 months or continue for the life of the defendant.
If you have been served with an Intervention Order and you wish to challenge it, you must act quickly as there are strict time frames in place in relation to these types of proceedings. You ought to obtain legal advice as to the likelihood of you being able to successfully challenge an Intervention Order. An experienced solicitor can assist you with this.
It is a criminal offence for a defendant to breach an Intervention Order. The penalties imposed on a defendant who breaches an Intervention Order includes imprisonment. Even if the protected person(s) consents to contact, the defendant may still be breach of the orders resulting in arrest, court appearance(s) and (likely) penalties imposed on the defendant including imprisonment.
The types of actions and activities that can be ordered to be restricted include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Not being allowed to come to your home, place of work or place of study;
- Not being allowed to go to your children’s school;
- Not being allowed to contact you either by phone, text message, email or any other form of contact;
- Not being allowed to ask someone else to contact you on behalf of the defendant; and
- Not being allowed to follow you or keep you under surveillance.
An Intervention Order can also require a defendant to do certain things which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Attend intervention programs, for example, anger management programs; and
- Not to own or have weapons and firearms in their possession.
Orders can also be made in relation to:
- Tenancy agreements;
- Problem gambling; and
The Police or a protected person may apply to the court to vary or revoke an Intervention Order. A defendant can apply to have the order varied or revoked either at one of the hearings of the matter or, if the Intervention Order has been made, they must wait at least 12 months from the date of the Order being made before applying. Before varying or revoking an Intervention Order, the Court must allow the Police, the defendant and the protected person(s) the opportunity to be heard on the matter.
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