Resolving your Intervention Order matter

The breakdown of a relationship between partners, family members, friends or neighbours can result in volatile and acrimonious disputes.  These disputes can sometimes lead to intimidation, or to the threat or actual use of violence to a person or a child.  Following an incident of this nature, one person may seek the help of Victoria Police or the Court and apply for an Intervention Order to protect them from the actions of another.

There are several misconceptions surrounding Intervention Orders, and it is important that all parties to an Intervention Order understand the process and outcomes available to them.  This article seeks to explain the Court process for Intervention Order matters, and some of the resolutions which may be available for all parties involved.

What is an Intervention Order?

 An Intervention Order is a Civil Order made by the Court which prohibits a person from committing certain actions against another person.  These prohibited actions can include, but are not limited to violence, communication, stalking, damage to property and the publishing of information.

There are two types of Intervention Orders that can be made on an interim or final basis:

  1. Personal Safety Intervention Order – This is a Court Order granted to protect a person from another person’s behaviour in circumstances where a person is being subject to violence or harassment by someone who is not a domestic partner or a member of their family (such as a neighbour or a friend).
  2. Family Violence Intervention Order – This is a Court Order granted to protect a person from further violence or harassing behaviour of a domestic partner, previous domestic partner or a family member.

Family Violence

Family violence incidents are on the rise in Australia, and are taken seriously by Victoria Police and the Court.  Victoria Police report that they apply for more than 12,000 Family Violence Intervention Orders per year.  Further, the social isolation and financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic have placed greater stress on already strained relationships.

Family violence can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse, or controlling behaviour that is used to intimidate, force or control a partner, family member or child through fear.  This behaviour, or accusations of this behaviour, may lead to a party, or Victoria Police on behalf of a party, to apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order.

The Court Process

 Once a person has been served with an Application for an Intervention Order, the first hearing date will usually be listed a few weeks after the date the Application was made, or sooner if the matter is urgent. There are a number of different Court Hearings that can occur during this process, and most common types of Court Hearings that usually occur are:

  1. A Mention Hearing – This is mainly a procedural Court date, and evidence and arguments will generally not be considered by the Magistrate. The parties involved will be given an opportunity to negotiate an outcome, and the matter will be re-listed to a later date if no agreement is reached. Procedural Orders may be made on this date, such as an Order for the Applicant to file Further and Better Particulars, the Respondent to file a Response to Further and Better Particulars and/or Victoria Police to complete a risk assessment on the Respondent.
  2. A Directions Hearing – This is a further procedural hearing which provides further opportunity for the parties to attempt a resolution of the matter. If no resolution can be reached, the matter will be listed for a Final Contest Hearing.
  3. A Final Contest Hearing – This is the final Court event where evidence is led by both parties, including the evidence of witnesses, and the presiding Magistrate will then make a decision about whether the Intervention Order will be granted or not.

It is possible to resolve the matter at each of the above Court Hearings.  It is also important to note that an Interim Intervention Order will normally be in place for the duration of the proceedings and until the matter is resolved.

Possible Outcomes

The timeframe for resolution and the type of outcome depends on the attitudes of the parties, whether the Court needs to make a decision, and the result of any negotiations.

There are 3 possible resolutions that can be reached in an Intervention Order matter:-

Final Order

A Final Order can be made if:

  • The matter proceeds to a Contest Hearing and, after a hearing of the evidence, the Magistrate makes a Final Order; or
  • Following negotiations, the Respondent consents to a Final Intervention Order, often without admitting that the allegations are true.

A Final Order will not give a person a criminal record and is normally in place for a specified period of time, such as 12 months.  At the end of the time period, the Final Order will expire unless it is extended prior to the date of expiration.


An undertaking is a written promise by the Respondent to the Applicant and the Court that they will not act improperly or commit certain actions against the Applicant.  An Undertaking is usually reached through negotiation during Court proceedings, and the Applicant must agree to accept the Undertaking and withdraw the Application for the matter to be resolved this way.   However, an Undertaking does not prevent the Applicant from coming back to Court and asking for the Intervention Order to be reinstated in the future.

No Order

If the matter proceeds to a Contest Hearing and is unsuccessful, or if the application is withdrawn at any point in the proceedings, the matter will be at an end and no Order will be made.

Living with a Final Intervention Order

While an Intervention Order is not a criminal offence or conviction, a breach of a condition on the Intervention Order is a criminal offence and may result in a criminal conviction. The Courts approach breaches seriously, and a breach may be as simple as sending a text message to the person protected by the Order, or having a friend or family member do so on their behalf.  An Intervention Order can still be breached even if the person protected by the Order contacts the Respondent at first instance.

It is important to know that the Courts have the power to enforce penalties if a person is found guilty of breaching an Intervention Order, including a prison sentence.  If a person is found guilty, the breach will also be noted on a person’s criminal record.

Some Family Violence Intervention Orders allow communication between the person who the Order is ‘protecting’ and the person whom the Order is against.  For example, some Family Violence Intervention Orders allow communication between parents as long as it is about arrangements for the children only, or communications through solicitors.

If an Intervention Order has been made against you, it is important that you seek legal advice on the conditions of the Intervention Order and on any actions that you are prohibited from undertaking, as well as any exemptions or communication exceptions that may apply.


Intervention Orders can be an unfortunate consequence of the breakdown of a relationship, and are a tool designed to protect one person from another.  The Courts and Victoria Police approach issues of family violence and personal safety very seriously.  However, there are options available for a resolution at every stage of the Intervention Order process, and particularly for individuals who wish to settle the matter without the stress or expense of lengthy legal proceedings.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice with an Intervention Order, please contact our Intake team on (03) 8415 5600 or email us at reception@hartleyslawyers.com.au.

This article is intended to provide general information only.  You should obtain professional advice before you undertake any course of action.

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