Zara Syed, Solicitor, RSG Lawyers – 7 January 2015
An Intervention Order (IVO) is when a court intervenes between two or more parties and makes an order of protection to one party (the affected person) and prohibits the other party (the respondent) from certain acts which make the applicant feel threatened and unsafe.
Types of IVOs
In Victoria, there are two types of IVOs:
1. Personal Safety – help protect affected persons from threats and violence caused by neighbours, friends, work colleagues or strangers.
2. Family Violence – help protect affected family members from threats and family violence by a family member. Family violence is the feeling of fear and includes emotional and financial abuse, as well as physical violence and sexual abuse.
Civil Law or Criminal Law?
IVOs fall under civil law and are in no way categorised as orders under criminal law. However once an IVO has been made, a breach of the conditions by the respondent may be a criminal offence resulting in possible fines and/or imprisonment.
Applying for an IVO
An IVO application is usually made to the Magistrates court by either by the affected person or by a member of the police (the applicant). Usually a short-term ‘interim’ IVO is made immediately however this is not made into a long-term final order until and unless the respondent is served with the interim order and given an opportunity to appear before the magistrate in court and either agree or disagree with the order, with or without admissions to the accusations made by the affected person.
Contesting the IVO
Respondents have the right to contest the matter and disagree with the order being made and make no admissions to what the affected person is claiming. First there will be an initial hearing so the magistrate knows where both parties stand, then there will be a directions hearing so the magistrate can estimate the time required at a contested hearing and finally at the contested hearing both parties may call upon their witnesses and provide evidence to the court to prove or disprove the accusations. After a contested hearing, if the magistrate is still satisfied that the respondent has and may continue to pose a threat to the affected person, a final IVO will most probably be ordered. If the magistrate is not satisfied that there is a threat, the interim order will cease.
Most IVOs are valid for 12 months. After the expiration of the IVO if the affected person still feels unsafe, the situation will be re-assessed and the IVO can be extended or a new application can be made. Interim orders will cease if either a final order is made or is not made.
The conditions of an IVO can be varied after an IVO has been made. For example, if an IVO states the respondent must not come within 200 metres of the affected person’s home and work place, and the affected person believes it is safe for the respondent to come to their home or workplace, the condition can be removed or changed.
When an IVO is made in Victoria, it is only valid in Victoria unless it is also registered in another state or territory. There are no costs associated with making an IVO.
If you would like to make an application for an IVO to protect yourself or someone you know, or if you are wrongfully being accused as a respondent of an IVO, RSG Lawyers can help you.