What are family violence orders? A Concise Explanation

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Donna Nguyen - Family Lawyer

Donna Nguyen - Family Lawyer

If you have experienced violence or been threatened, you may be able to apply for an Intervention Order. Intervention Orders are court orders that restrict a person from contacting you. This article will provide comprehensive information on the different types of Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) you can get, how long they are valid for and how to make an application.

What are family violence orders?

Each state and territory in Australia offers legal protection to individuals who experience violence or threats. 

Although these orders may have a different name in different states, they all serve a similar purpose. 

Family violence orders are designed to protect victims from domestic abuse, which may include mental harm or physical harm. They are also designed to discourage such conduct from ever occurring again. 

A family violence order is a court order that protects an individual, or individuals, from a family member who has a history of family violence or has made previous threats. If you have been served with a family violence order, you cannot contact the person who took the order out against you. This person is referred to as the protected person, a term which will be used throughout this article.

Family violence orders are either made as an interim order or a final order. An interim order is valid for 28 days from the date that it was made. A final order generally has 12-month validity, however it may be longer depending on the circumstances.

When a family violence order, is made, it will normally have conditions attached to it so that the offender cannot act in a particular manner. Normal conditions include:

  • not consuming alcohol
  • not assaulting, stalking, harassing, threatening, or intimidating the protected person
  • not intentionally, or recklessly destroying or damaging any property belonging to the protected person
  • not trying to find the protected person
  • not going near where the protected person lives, works, or spends time

For example, if the protected person goes to a particular gym at a particular time, the offender cannot go to the gym when they do. In some cases, the offender may not be allowed to go to that gym at all.

How to get a family violence order

Family violence orders are made under state or territory legislation. Every state and territory in Australia has an order to reduce the risk of family violence.

Below you will find information on what this type of order is called in your state or territory and how you can get one to protect yourself from harm.

Apprehended Domestic Violence Order NSW

To get an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) or an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO), you can either apply to the police, who will apply on your behalf, or you may go to the court directly.

If you fear for your safety, you can contact the police and they will apply for an AVO on your behalf. If there are sufficient grounds to believe there is an immediate danger, they will apply for a provisional AVO, which lasts for 28 days. The purpose of the provisional AVO is to protect you while you wait for your proceedings to be heard by the Local Court of NSW.

You can also apply to the Local Court directly for an AVO.

AVOs have standard conditions attached to them, and depending on the circumstances, they may have additional conditions, which the defendant, must abide by for the duration that the AVO is in operation.

Personal Safety Intervention Order VIC

A Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO) is a court order that protects an individual, their family, and their property from another person’s behaviour. PSIOs operate under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic).

There are two types of intervention orders in Victoria; a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) or a Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO). If you are applying for one of these orders, then you are the applicant. The person who you are applying for the order against is the respondent.

You may apply for a PSIO if you have been threatened, stalked, harassed, assaulted, or had your property damaged. You may take a PSIO out against a spouse, ex-partner, friend, relative, neighbour, tenant, landlord, student, any other person you know, or even a stranger.

If you are the respondent, it means that you have been accused of a form of family violence. This can include physical abuse, mental abuse, or financial abuse.

What is the process for applying for a PSIO?

You will need to contact your closest Magistrates Court to make an appointment to apply for a PSIO, and then attend the appointment. You should bring the Personal Safety Intervention Order form with you to the appointment.

The registrar will type up the application, so it’s beneficial to give them as much information as you can. If you need to, write everything down before you attend the appointment, so that you do not miss anything. After the registrar has typed up the application, you will be given the opportunity to read over it and confirm whether the facts are true and correct.

If the application is approved, you will receive a copy of the application and a summons. The summons will let you know the date, time, and place of your intervention order hearing. The police can inform the respondent on your behalf. You can contact the Magistrates Court to find out if it has been served.

It is very important that you attend the PSIO or Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) hearing. If you do not do so, your application may be dismissed. If the respondent does not come to court then an order can be made in their absence.

If the judicial officer makes a final or interim PSIO, the conditions of the order will be read out in court. The registrar will give you a copy of the PSIO at the end of the hearing. If the PSIO remains in force and the respondent breaches the conditions, you should contact the police immediately.

Domestic Violence Order QLD

A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is made by a Queensland court. It is a family violence order that outlines rules that you must obey. It prohibits you from behaving in certain ways.

If you breach the conditions of the order, you can be charged with a criminal offence. If convicted, depending on the seriousness of the breach, you may face penalties, which can include a maximum penalty of imprisonment.

The Queensland courts can make temporary protection orders or final protection orders. A temporary protection order will be made in the event you are in immediate danger and offers protection for a short period. A protection order can last for five years, however, the order may be made for a shorter period. It depends on the circumstances around the order.

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Intervention Order SA

In South Australia, a domestic violence order is referred to as an Intervention Order. 

An intervention order is a court order that prohibits a person from behaving in a particular manner towards a particular person(s).

If you are at risk of family violence, an intervention order can offer you protection. The order will have a variety of conditions, but the main idea is that the person, most commonly a family member, cannot use violence against you.

The Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 (SA) provides details of who you can take an order out against. Generally speaking, if you are worried that a person will commit an act of abuse against you, you can apply to the South Australian courts for an Intervention Order.

If you have children, then the order offers protection to both you, and any child who may be at risk of violence from the person. Initially, the police may make an Interim Intervention Order, which takes effect from the moment it is served on the respondent.

To obtain a final Intervention Order, you will be required to go to the police station to make a statement. The police will ask you why you want to take out an Intervention Order. After you have confirmed the information in your statement, it will be sent to the police prosecutor. You will need to attend the court hearing, however, the police prosecutor will speak on your behalf.

Domestic Violence Order ACT

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), you can request that the court makes a Personal Protection Order, or a Workplace Protection Order. These types of orders are made when someone has experienced violence and are designed to protect them from future violence, or other harm.

You can apply using the Personal Protection Order form, or Workplace Protection Order form, a Private and Confidential form to the police, and a notice of address for service form. You must lodge these forms to the ACT Magistrates Court.

If you file the form before 11:30 am, the matter will be heard on the same day. It is up to the court’s discretion to decide if urgent matters will be heard on the same day if you file the form after 11:30 am.

If you need urgent protection, you can apply to the court for an Interim Personal Violence Order, and explain why you need an Interim Order. In most instances, a Final Personal Violence Order will last for 12 months, however, the court may vary the duration depending on the circumstances.

Violence Restraining Order WA

If someone has been violent towards you in Western Australia, you can apply to the Magistrates Court of Western Australia for a Violence Restraining Order. If the court makes the order then you will be protected from violence. If the person the order is made against, breaches the conditions of the order then they will be charged with a criminal offence and could be fined, or in more serious cases, face imprisonment. 

There are different types of restraining orders in Western Australia, which are:

  • Family Violence Restraining Order
  • Violence Restraining Order
  • Misconduct Restraining Order

Western Australia joined the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme on the 25th of November, 2017. This means that if an order was made in Western Australia, it will automatically be recognised across Australia. If the order was made before then, you can apply to have it recognised so that you are protected from violence across Australia.

You can find the application forms on the Magistrates Court of Western Australia website.

Family Violence Order TAS

If you live in Tasmania and have been the victim of domestic violence, you can apply to the Magistrates Court of Tasmania, for protection against a family member or other individual who has either carried out an act of violence or been violent with you.

A police officer or lawyer can also apply on your behalf by filing one of the forms on the Magistrates Court of Tasmania’s website.

If the court is satisfied that the person you want to be protected from has committed violence or other unwelcome behaviour, they will make the order. This will prevent them from doing so again.

These orders typically last for 12 months, and can also offer you protection against your children.

Domestic Violence Order NT

The Northern Territory Local Court offers similar orders. In the Northern Territory, they are called Domestic Violence Orders and have the same effect. They can stop the person from:

  • contacting you
  • using violence against you
  • damaging your property, or animals
  • threatening to use violence against you
  • stalking or harassing you
  • selling your property without your consent
  • pressuring you financially

All Domestic Violence Orders come with a series of conditions that are unique to your circumstance, which may include:

  • total non-contact
  • not being violent
  • not contacting you while intoxicated

If a person breaches the conditions, they may face criminal charges.

How Unified Lawyers can help

If you have been served with a Apprehended Domestic Violence Order and require legal advice, contact Unified Lawyers on 1300 667 461 for a free initial consultation. Our lawyers will find out the exact circumstances and will work closely with you to resolve your matter.

We can also help applicants wanting advice on how to apply for a DVO. We will explain your options and keep you informed every step of the way. We take pride in removing the pressure in, what is often, a very stressful situation.

Donna Nguyen - Family Lawyer
Donna Nguyen - Family Lawyer

Donna is a family law solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales with a double degree in Business and Law.

Donna is drawn to family law as she is interested in helping clients during a difficult and transitional period following separation. She strives to achieve the best outcome for her clients and has their best interest at the forefront of her advice.