The statistics for family violence in Australia are alarming. At least one in three women and one in five men have experienced at least one incidence of family violence from a current or former partner. Family violence can be physical, emotional, or financial and has a devastating effect on victims.
We can help if you are experiencing family violence. We know that this is a traumatic, emotional, and stressful time. We are compassionate, highly skilled family violence practitioners with a priority for our clients’ safety and welfare.

What is family violence?

Family violence includes emotional, financial abuse, physical violence, and sexual abuse against another family member. The conduct of the perpetrator may be actual or threatened. Family violence may also include behaviour that makes a family member fear for the safety of their property, another family member, or an animal.

Children may be exposed to family violence when they overhear threats towards other family members, witness or hear an assault of another family member.

Family members include:

  • people in an intimate personal relationship – for example, married, de facto or domestic partners – regardless of whether they are in a sexual relationship
  • parents, children, and stepchildren
  • relatives either by birth, marriage, or adoption
  • people you consider to be a family member – for example, carers, guardians, or people related to you within the family structure of your culture
The law also protects a person from anyone who was a family member in the past, for example ex-partners.

What is a Family Violence Intervention Order?

Family Violence Intervention Order (IVO) is an order made by the court that prohibits a respondent, or other party, from certain behavior such as harassment, stalking, intimidation, violence, or the threat of violence. IVO’s are designed to provide protection to the victim from this type of behavior. They can be made by consent or if the court is satisfied that the person in need of protection fears violence or harassment by the defendant.

How to apply for an IVO

If you need to apply for an IVO, or if somebody has applied for an IVO against you, it is recommended you seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer immediately.

You can apply for a family violence intervention order at your local Magistrates’ Court. The Police can also apply for one on your behalf. If you need urgent protection, a magistrate may make an interim intervention order. An interim order provides protection from family violence until both sides can appear at court. You can also include children who are under 18 in your application.

The person making an application for an intervention order is called the ‘applicant’. The applicant may be a police officer, or anyone seeking protection from family violence. The person who the intervention order is being brought against (the perpetrator of family violence) is referred to as the ‘respondent’.
Once an intervention order is granted by the court, the applicant becomes the ‘protected person.’
If the respondent breaks any conditions listed in an intervention order, police have the power to charge them with a criminal offence.

What happens if someone tries to apply for an IVO against you?

If an IVO has been made against you and you wish to object, the court will adjourn the matter for a contested hearing at a later date. Melbourne Lawyers & Mediators can guide you through the process, prepare a thorough brief and appear on your behalf to defend the allegations.

In some cases, applications for IVOs are resolved by being withdrawn and the respondent giving an undertaking to the court in similar terms as the intervention order sought. The undertaking is a promise to the court but not an order of the court.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 1800 99 31 32 for expert legal advice.