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Areas of Practice

Intervention Orders

An intervention order (formerly referred to as a restraining order) is a court order to prohibit a person (the defendant) from committing an act of abuse on a protected person.  An intervention order can be sought in domestic (family) situations where the protected person is related to the defendant for example a spouse or child. An intervention order may also be obtained in relation to non-domestic (non family) situations.

What is an act of abuse?

An act of abuse may include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic

abuse, where the act is intended to or does result in:

  • Physical injury; or
  • Emotional or psychological harm; or
  • An unreasonable and non-consensual denial of financial, social or personal autonomy; or
  • Damage to property in the ownership or possession of the person or used or otherwise enjoyed by the person.

Intervention Orders and Family Law Act

If you are a party to an intervention order it is important to obtain advice as to how intervention orders operate with Family Law Act orders and how they may affect any Family Court proceedings.  If an intervention order is inconsistent with a Family Law Act order, the Family Law Act orders will override the intervention order.  When determining Family Law proceedings a court will generally have regard to the existence of intervention orders, whether or not those orders have been made on an interim or on a final basis.  There is no expiry date (sunset clause) automatically attached to intervention orders.  There is the potential that an intervention order could last indefinitely unless an expiry date is specifically fixed when the order is made.  The court will otherwise fix a date (minimum period of 12 months) which thereafter the defendant may apply to vary or revoke the order.  The protected person can, at any time, apply to the court to vary or revoke the order. If an intervention order expires, the protected person will need to apply for a further order if they still require protection from abuse.

Intervention orders for applicants

You may wish to seek advice about how to apply for an intervention order, what the process entails and what to expect. You may also want to seek advice about the Family Law process and how orders made in that system can protect you or your children.

Intervention orders for defendants

An intervention order may be coupled with criminal charges or may proceed alone.  In both scenarios you may be ordered to undergo an assessment for an Abuse Prevention Program and may then be ordered to participate in that program.  Failure to do so would result in a sanction from the court.

An intervention order may affect you in many different ways that may not be apparent on the face of it including in relation to work and other opportunities and in respect to any Family Court proceedings. The order can be defended if you choose to do so, if the allegations that form the basis for the order cannot be proven.

If you have been served with an interim intervention order you should seek immediate advice in respect to the order and its effect as there are strict time frames attached to the intervention order proceedings.