You may have received a Family Violence Safety Notice, an Interim Family Violence Intervention Order, or a Final Family Violence Intervention Order. Both the Interim and Final Family Violence Intervention Orders are civil orders. However, if you breach the conditions of one of these Orders, it may constitute a criminal offence and you may face criminal charges.
The person who applied for the Order is known as the “Applicant” and you will be known as the “Respondent”. An Applicant can be a family member or the police who has applied for the Order.
Read some FAQs here about Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO). Let our Intervention Order Lawyers in Melbourne assist you.
What happens after I receive an Application or and Order
Once you receive an Order or Application, the process often requires attendance at multiple court hearings in the Magistrates’ Court.
Mentions Hearing (First Hearing) and Directions Hearing
You will not be able to contest the Order at your first hearing. If you would like to contest the Order, your matter will be listed for final contested hearing which takes place at a later date. Usually, there will still be a few smaller appearances in between known as a Directions Hearing. It could take up to 12 months or more from the date of your first hearing up to the final contested hearing.
The Directions Hearing is a procedural hearing that allows the parties to negotiate and ensure that the Respondent is complying with the conditions of the Order.
It allows the Court to check if the parties have obtained legal advice, whether witnesses will be called, whether any further evidence needs to be obtained, whether interpreters are required, and whether the parties are ready for the final contested hearing (that is, if you would like to contest the Order).
You can also ask for “further and better particulars” at this stage, which is documents that the Applicant would need to provide outlining the details of the incident. This document would assist you to prepare your arguments against the Order.
Final Contested Hearing
This is where the Magistrate will hear evidence from any witnesses and evidence from both sides. The Applicant will speak first, then the Respondent. The Magistrate will then determine if a Final Order should be in place.
What are my options?
You can consent to obey the conditions of the Order without agreeing with what the Applicant has alleged. This is known as “consenting without admissions”. You can also ask for the Magistrate to change some of the conditions so that you don’t risk breaching the Order.
Agreeing to the Order will not give you a criminal record. It only becomes a criminal matter if you breach the conditions of the Order.
An undertaking is a written promise to the court and your family member that you will follow the conditions of the undertaking. You can only provide an undertaking if the Applicant accepts it. If the police were the ones who applied for the IVO, they are less likely to accept an undertaking. The court can also say no to an undertaking.
If you break the conditions on the undertaking, you will not be charged by the police unless you have committed an offence such as stalking. The Applicant can still bring their application back to the court in the future and ask for an IVO to be made.
If you disagree with the Order, your matter will be set for a contested hearing. A contested hearing will only be set if you have spoken to an intervention order lawyer, and your matter is procedurally ready for a Contested Hearing. This will be where you will be given the opportunity to present your arguments and evidence to contest the IVO and argue against the Order. You will need to satisfy the Court that the claims against you are false or that you are not a future risk to the person(s) needing protection.
If you do not have an intervention order lawyer representing you, you cannot cross-examine and ask protected witness questions in court yourself. Therefore, it is important to get legal advice before your hearing.
Sometimes a family intervention order may include family law conditions to allow people to have children to continue to negotiate and fulfil parenting arrangements. This can be complex, so you should seek legal advice. We have experienced intervention order lawyers who specialises in family law.