Defending an Intervention Order in Victoria
25 January 2017
An Intervention Order is a Court Order which is made by a Magistrate in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria against a person (the Respondent) who has committed family violence against a family member (the Aggrieved Family Member).
An Intervention Order can be made on an interim basis, based only on evidence from the Aggrieved Family Member and the first notice the Respondent may have will be when he/she is served with the Interim Intervention Order by the Police. Often a child will have also been included as a protected person under the Interim Intervention Order.
An intervention Order has the primary purpose of protecting a family member from family violence. If the Aggrieved Family Member is able to give evidence that there has been occasion(s) of family violence and fears for his/her safety, then a Magistrate will make an Interim Intervention Order against the Respondent without having heard the Respondent’s side of the story at that initial stage.
After being served with the Interim Intervention Order, the Respondent has the following choices:
If the Respondent does not attend court on the next appointed court date, the Magistrate make the Interim Order into a Final Intervention Order which will usually last at least 12 months or more.
If the Intervention Order is being defended by the Respondent, due to delays in the court system in Melbourne, it can take many months (or even a year) for the Respondent to have the opportunity to give evidence in a final hearing of the case before a Magistrate. Bearing in mind those delays, some Respondents decide to take an expedient approach and, at an early stage, consent to a Final Intervention Order lasting for an agreed period so as to finalise the court proceedings.
If you have a lawyer representing you at Court on the first court date, it may be possible (subject to the views of the Magistrate) to settle the dispute by the Aggrieved Family Member agreeing to withdraw the Application on the basis that the Respondent gives an undertaking to the Court not to commit any acts of family violence. If the dispute cannot be settled then the lawyer can advise as to the best way in which the case should proceed.
If you have been served with an Intervention Order Application, it is important to seek reliable legal advice from Melbourne Family Lawyers as to what you should do. Getting advice is especially important if children have been included as aggrieved family members. In such a case, an Intervention Order may prevent you from being with or contacting your children, and it will be a relevant factor in any parenting dispute to be determined in the Family Court of Australia.
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