Family Violence Intervention Orders
As we have so sadly seen in the news recently, personal violence affects a large number of Australian families. A Family Violence Intervention Order can be sought in such situations with the intention of legally protecting a person from violence committed by a family member.
What is considered family violence?
Family violence is not limited to physical violence. Any harmful behaviour that uses fear and controls, forces, threatens or dominates a family member may be considered domestic or family violence. This includes:
- physical acts, such as hitting or forcible restraint
- emotional abuse, such as controlling contact with others or belittling
- sexual abuse
- financial abuse, such as withholding funds
Family violence laws also cover children being witness to or exposed to violence against their family member.
What is a Family Violence Intervention Order?
A Family Violence Intervention Order is a legally enforceable and makes it an offence for a person to commit family violence against another person. Having n Family Violence Intervention Order issued against a person does not automatically given them a criminal record, but should they breach the order or commit further violent acts, it may result in criminal proceedings.
- Conditions typically attached to an order include:
- Stopping the violent actions
- Staying away from the protected person
- Not communicating with the protected person
- Adhering to specific communication conditions, ie. contact only through a lawyer or with supervision
Who is covered by a Family Violence Intervention Order?
For the purposes of Family Violence Intervention Orders, family members are considered:
- married, de facto or domestic partners
- parents and children (including children of a partner)
- relatives by birth, marriage or adoption
- a carer or guardian
- anyone who was previously a family member (eg. former spouse).
Intervention orders issued against people who do not fit these definitions are considered Personal Safety Intervention Orders
How do I obtain an Intervention Order?
There are two ways in which a Family Violence Intervention Order can be sought:
- Self initiated. Your family lawyer can support you through the process of seeking an intervention order, but the actual application must be done by the individual seeking the order.
- Police initiated. If police feel you or your family members are at risk of violence, they may apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order on your behalf. (It should be noted that police are obliged to respond to family violence reports – even if the person subject to violence from another does not want them to.)
What happens next?
Once an application has been made, it will be served to the person who it is considered has been committing acts of violence. The courts will set a date to determine whether an order should be issued and the conditions to be attached to such an order.
At Umbrella Family Law, we understand that issues of domestic violence can be both urgent and stressful. We can provide empathetic legal advice and help guide you through the process of protecting yourself and your family members.