Understanding Intervention Orders

A guide to help you understand Intervention Orders

Intervention Orders (also known as AVOs, Family Violence Orders, Restraining Orders, or Domestic Violence Orders) exist to protect people from violence.

As with any legal issue, an Intervention Order can seem complicated. You might have questions like:

  • Can I apply for an Intervention Order?
  • What does an Intervention Order do?
  • What is the difference between an interim order and a final order?
  • Why does an Intervention Order have a different name in the state where I live?

To help you understand Intervention Orders, we’ve put together the following guide.

If you think you might need an Intervention Order, contact Australian Family Lawyers. We operate all over Australia, and we’re ready to help.

Why are there different names for Intervention Orders?

Intervention Orders go by many names. Different states and territories in Australia have their own independent legal systems, and the terminology they use can vary. For example, the equivalent domestic violence orders go by the following titles in the following places:

  • Queensland: Domestic Violence Order (DVO)
  • Victoria: Intervention Orders
  • Western Australia: Family Violence Restraining Order
  • South Australia: They were formerly called Restraining Orders, but are now called Intervention Orders
  • New South Wales: Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)
  • Tasmania: Family Violence Order
  • Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory: Domestic Violence Order

How can an Intervention Order protect your personal safety?

An Intervention Order sets rules about how somebody (the respondent) is allowed to act towards somebody else (the applicant or protected person). These rules are put in place to keep the protected person safe from physical, verbal and emotional abuse.

For example, the order might set rules to do with whether somebody can:

  • Come near you
  • Come near your property
  • Use a third party to contact you
  • Contact you by phone, email, social media, or text message

Breaking the rules of an Intervention Order is a criminal offence and can result in jail time for the offender.

What is the difference between an interim order and a final order?

If a magistrate is of the opinion that somebody is not safe and needs immediate protection, they can implement an interim or ‘short term’ Intervention Order.

  • Usually, an interim order will stand until a magistrate makes a final order.
  • An interim order can be made even in the absence of the respondent (the person whose actions are controlled and limited by the order).
  • This interim order has the same legal effect and is as legally binding as a final order.

For a final or ‘long term’ order, a magistrate must have heard evidence at a contested hearing. Then, they must have determined that the respondent has used violence in the past (not necessarily physical violence) and that it is probable they will do so in the future.

A final order is usually for a set period of time, such as 12 months, 2 years, or another length of time that the Magistrate deems appropriate.

There are other circumstances in which a final order might be placed. For example:

  • If both sides give their consent to the making of the order
  • If the respondent does not turn up to their hearing

Can a child be protected by an Intervention Order?

An Intervention Order can be sought by a child, or on a child’s behalf.

If the court is satisfied that an Intervention Order is necessary to guarantee the safety of the child, an interim order can be implemented immediately.

What happens if an Intervention Order is inconsistent with a Parenting Order?

Some parenting orders require or authorise a person to spend time with a child. Sometimes, this is inconsistent with a Family Violence Order, which could require a person to stay away from, and not make contact with, that same child. That inconsistency is handled through the Family Law Act. For example:

  • Section 68Q outlines that: A Family Violence Order is invalid where there is an inconsistent Parenting Order.

But also:

  • Section 68R states that: “In proceedings to make or vary a family violence order, a court of a State or Territory that has jurisdiction in relation to this Part may revive, vary, discharge or suspend…a parenting order”.

What that means in plain English is that a Parenting Order and an Intervention Order must be consistent with each other. And when the Intervention Order is being made or changed, the Parenting Order can also be changed at the same time to ensure there are no contradictions.

The existence of an Intervention Order does not necessarily mean that a parent cannot spend time with a child. However, any time that is spent must be consistent with Parenting Orders and/or the Intervention Order. There can be serious consequences if an Intervention Order or Parenting Orders are breached, so it is best to get legal advice about your rights and obligations.

You don’t have to be a legal expert to protect your family from violence. Contact Australian Family Lawyers, and we can help make sense of it all.

At Australian Family Lawyers, we offer support for Australians in tough circumstances nationwide. If you need legal advice, get in touch with Australian Family Lawyers today.

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