An intervention order (formerly known as a restraining order) is a Court Order to prohibit a person (the defendant) from committing an act of abuse on a protected person and to assist in preventing the exposure of children to the effects of domestic and non-domestic violence. An intervention order can be sought in domestic (family) situations and also in non-domestic (non family) situations.
An act of abuse is not just limited to physical abuse but also encompasses:
- 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.
An intervention order can be issued by the police on behalf of a protected person and in some circumstances when the protected person didn't even request the intervention order and didn't want it. Individuals can also apply to the Court for an intervention order, if police will not assist.
Intervention orders may take a variety of forms but mostly they will prohibit a defendant from engaging in specified forms of conduct.
The test for the Court is whether there is reason to suspect that the defendant will, without intervention, commit an act of abuse against the protected person in the future. Recent Supreme Court decisions have also stated that the acts of abuse need not have been recent. A Court will weigh up the consideration on the appropriateness of restricting a defendant's freedom of movement and the welfare and personal autonomy of the protected person.
If you are a party to an intervention order, it is important to obtain advice as to how intervention orders affect any current or futureFamily Law Actorders. If an intervention order is inconsistent with aFamily Law Actorder those parts of the intervention order will be invalid. Also if an intervention order does exist, it is a relevant consideration for Family Court proceedings.
There is no expiry date to intervention orders. If the defendant or the protected person does not make an application to the Court, the intervention order could last indefinitely. The Court will 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.
Intervention Orders for Applicants
There are further orders that may be available to you other than just the intervention order. You may wish to seek advice about how to apply for an intervention order, the process and what to expect.
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 as apparent on the face of it. For instance eligibility for volunteer roles, contact with your children, in Family Court proceedings etc.
If you have been served with an interim intervention order your prompt action is necessary as there are strict time frames attached to the proceedings. It is also important to note that as soon as you have been served with an interim intervention order you must strictly comply with each condition. Failure to do so would result in further criminal charges.