It can be incredibly difficult to leave a situation where someone close to you is being abusive or making you feel unsafe. In these situations the first thing you should do is make sure you’re safe, then share the burden and get support from a friend, counsellor or refuge.
Once you’re out of harm’s way, it’s time to start thinking about how you can keep you and your family safe moving forward. One way to do this is by applying for a personal safety or family violence intervention order with conditions designed specifically for your situation.
What is an intervention order and how can I get one?
An intervention order, otherwise known as a restraining order, IVO or apprehended violence order (‘AVO’) , sets specific rules to protect people from harm or abuse. To get one ,you’ll need to call the nearest Magistrate’s Court and set a time to have your application processed, or apply for an appointment online. Make sure you take any evidence needed to support your need for an intervention order to your appointment.
During your appointment you’ll need to:
- Talk to the court registrar
- Fill in an application form
- Provide information about the person(s) included in the application and your situation.
It’s usually best to seek specialist legal advice before applying to the court to ensure that you make your application correctly, and know exactly what is needed to keep you safe. At Testart Family Lawyers, we can help you with the application process.
Which intervention order conditions do I need?
Intervention conditions can prohibit the respondent from performing or acting in a way that threatens, harms or intimidates you by including conditions. Common conditions may stop the respondent from:
- Going within a certain distance from your home or other places where you regularly go such as school or work.
- Committing violence against you.
- Communicating with you in any way.
- Attempting to follow or surveil you.
- Damaging your property.
- Making threats against you or your property.
You can also ask to have other conditions included that compel the respondent to return your personal property, return jointly owned property, hand in weapons to the police or cancel any firearms authority.
Ultimately, the magistrate will have the final say about what conditions are and aren’t included in your intervention order, and how long the order will be in place. That’s why, when making an application it’s always best to make sure it’s correct, complete and you present adequate and appropriate evidence.
What if I have a child?
If you have a child with the respondent (or someone else) and believe that they are at risk of violence you can ask for them to be included in the intervention order. If you believe that any parenting orders are inconsistent with the intervention orders these can also be suspended during the term of the order.
The magistrate may however, make provisions for the respondent to communicate with you and your child for the purpose of childcare arrangements only (if they believe it is safe to do so).
Finding a local family lawyer in Melbourne
If you are in a situation where you feel unsafe, find help and get yourself to safety right away. Then once you’re ready, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you’re going to ensure your safety long term..
Speaking to a local family lawyer is a good place to start – and applying for an intervention order may be a solid long term solution. Get in touch with Testart Family Lawyers and we’ll explain and help you understand your options so you can find the safest and easiest way forward – including a free first meeting.