What to Do if You Have Been Served with a Family Violence Intervention Order?

Finding out that you have been served with a Family Violence Safety Notice, an Interim Family Violence Intervention Order, or an Application for a Family Violence Intervention Order, can be overwhelming and confusing. Whether or not you think it’s fair or deserved, there are some simple things that you need to do to ensure you don’t find yourself in bigger trouble.

Understand What a Family Violence Intervention Order Means

Formally known as a restraining order, a family violence intervention order is a legally enforceable document that aims to protect a person, their children, and their property from violence committed another family member (the respondent). Family members may include a spouse or de facto partner, parents, or any other relatives by birth, marriage, or adoption. Family violence may include physical abuse, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse, property damage, and threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour.

The order has conditions to stop the respondent from using family violence against the protected person. Depending on the conditions, the respondent might be required to:

  • stop the behaviour.
  • cease all contact and communication with the protected person.
  • stay a certain distance away from the protected person at all times.

There are other orders that the magistrate can make, such as having the respondent’s firearm licences suspended or cancelled.

Read the Order Carefully

It is important that you understand the terms of the order and what you are prohibited from doing. The order will specify what you are not allowed to do, including contacting the person who filed the order, going near their residence or workplace, or possessing firearms.


  • The order can stop you from going to premises you own or rent, or to the place where you normally live.
  • If your children are living with the protected person, then the order may stop you from spending time with them.

Do Not Breach the Order

Regardless of your personal opinion or whether you think the conditions are unfair, do not breach the order. You should not contact the protected person or contact your children if the intervention order stops you from doing so. Disobeying the intervention order come with serious penalties, and it can also have a negative effect on any future parenting applications.

Seek Advice from a Family Lawyer

An experienced family lawyer will be able to explain your rights and obligations and help you navigate the legal process. When you are the subject of an intervention order application, it is important to be aware of the options are available to you, particularly if there is a chance you will be charged with an offence resulting from the allegation which has led to the application for an intervention order. Family lawyers are highly experienced at dealing with these issues and will assist you in defending yourself in a way that gives you the best opportunity for a favourable outcome.

Attend Court

Always go to court for a family violence matter. At the court hearing you will have the chance to tell the magistrate whether you want to dispute the order or any of its conditions. If you are a respondent to an application and you do not go to court, an order will be made against you in your absence, and orders made in your absence are incredibly difficult to change. You will also lose your opportunity to negotiate the conditions of a final order to ensure that you can easily comply with them. Additionally, you may also end up with an order that is longer in duration than it would otherwise have been had you attended the hearing.

Need a Family Lawyer? Melbourne’s Robert Wood and Associates is Here to Help

With decades of experience, we have handled hundreds of intervention order and domestic violence cases, acting for both applicant and respondent. If you have been served with papers to attend court, or you have breached an intervention order and are facing police charges, reach out to our team today. We will help you understand your options, and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome.

As one of the leading law firms Melbourne families rely on, make an appointment with us online or by calling 03 9762 3877. We will support you through the whole process, and provide supportive, compassionate legal assistance every step of the way.

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If you need professional, high quality legal advice from a law firm that puts your interests first, then Robert Wood and Associates is the right choice for you.

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