Intervention Orders and how to avoid breaching them

By Victoria Byrne, Lawyer, and Nicholas Macolino, Practical Legal Trainee.

Intervention Order conditions can be difficult to comply with if you do not understand them, and frequently we find clients are breaching them inadvertently because they have misunderstood what is allowed. It is imperative that a respondent to an Intervention Order understands the conditions.

Potential consequences of breaching an Family Violence Intervention Orders (“FVIO”)

Intervention Orders themselves are civil matters but contravening an FVIO is a criminal offence and therefore there are serious penalties.

The current penalties as at August 2021 for breaching an order include a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a fine of up $39,652.80.1 There are even more serious penalties for a breach that causes or intends to cause harm or fear of safety. This can result in a maximum of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $99,132.2 A Respondent that frequently breaches the order by non-violent means will also be subject to the higher penalties,3 which means that if you are charged with repeated breaches of the Intervention Order you could be looking at significant jail time.

If a police officer believes that the respondent has committed a breach of interim or final orders, then they can arrest and detain the person without the need for a warrant.4

Common types of breaches

There are many ways that a person could breach an FVIO depending on the specific conditions that were set, however here are some of the most common:

  • Approaching the protected person in any circumstance;
  • Accidently walking past or into an area where the protected person is and then remaining in that space, such as at the local shopping centre;
  • Text messaging or emailing a protected person about the FVIO or any other matter where there is no exemption (noting that there are often specific exemptions for discussing children’s arrangements);
  • Calling the protected person, particularly when it is frequent. This includes when you do not speak to them and leave a missed call;
  • Using surveillance against the protected person, which can include frequently checking their social media; and
  • Giving gifts or cards to an ex-partner or children who are named on the FVIO when there is no exemption for you to do so.

It is especially important to note that you cannot have any other person do any of the things you cannot do under the order on your behalf. This means you cannot have family or friends contact the protected persons for you.

One of the most confusing breaches that a respondent may face is when the protected person invites the respondent to commit an act that they cannot under the FVIO. Simple examples of this include:

  • If the protected person invites you to come to their house, but there is a condition that you cannot attend their home;
  • Spending time with the protected person/s at a café or restaurant by their invitation, but the conditions include that you cannot be within 5m of them.

In these circumstances, the protected person has not committed any offence for being an accomplice to the respondent breaching the FVIO,5 but as the respondent you can be found to have breached the order.

A protected person cannot ‘consent’ to allowing the respondent to breach the FVIO, and it becomes even more complicated in situations where a member of the Police Force is the applicant for the FVIO.

If a respondent is contacted by the protected person, they should not respond and consider seeking legal advice as soon as practicable.

Firearms

If the respondent is a holder of a firearms licence, they will automatically be deemed a ‘prohibited person’ upon final orders.6 This means that the licence is automatically suspended, and the police may seize all related firearms licences and materials. This may have already occurred under specific interim orders given by the Magistrate.

How do I avoid breaching?

The answer is simple. If in doubt, do not do it. As the respondent to an FVIO, you should always interpret the conditions as broadly as you possibly can and make sure you are doing nothing that could even remotely be considered a breach.

How do I go about obtaining specific advice on avoiding a breach?

Our lawyers routinely provide advice on Intervention Order matters. You can contact us on 9741 1722 to make an appointment.

References

1 Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) s 123.
2 Ibid s 123A.
3 Ibid s 125A.
4 Ibid s 124.
5 Ibid s 125.
6 Firearms Act 1996 (Vic) s 3.

You’re welcome to visit our Contact page for more details and make an appointment.

Our legal services

Our lawyers provide expert assistance and advice in the following areas:

Family Law

  • Parenting and Property Matters
  • De Facto Separation 
  • Divorce 
  • Binding Financial Agreements 

Wills & Powers of Attorney

  • Wills 
  • Enduring and Non-Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Medical Treatment Decision Maker 
  • Guardianship Applications at VCAT

Deceased Estates, Estate Planning and Probate

  • Grant of Probate
  • Letters of Administration 
  • Contesting Wills 
  • Calling in and Distributing Assets from deceased estates

Conveyancing

  • Purchase 
  • Sale 
  • Transfer of Titles 
  • Caveats 

Intervention Orders

  • Family Violence Intervention Orders
  • Personal Safety Intervention Orders 
  • Representation at Court
  • Advice and assistance contesting an Intervention Order

Commercial & Residential Leases

  • Drafting Leases 
  • Advice and Review of lease documents
  • Disputes as to rental relief
  • Representation at VCAT

Maltese Legal Matters

  • Drafting Powers of Attorney 
  • Advice regarding Maltese matters
  • Referrals to lawyers in Malta 
  • Notary Public 

Client testimonials

We were very happy with the support provided to us by Ebejer & Associates. They were reliable and understanding. Their expertise and professionalism throughout the entire process guided us to a successful outcome. We would certainly recommend Ebejer & Associates to our friends & family. Kind Regards

Gavin & Adriana

Marlene was recommended to me by a friend and thank God she did. Couldn’t have chosen a better person for the job. At a time when I felt my life was spiraling out of control, Marlene’s knowledge, dedication and positive attitude turned one of the worst experiences in my life into a bright future for myself and children with better than expected results. Her professional, friendly manner made dealing with such a deeply emotional issue just that little bit easy, and I would often walk out of her office with a smile. I cannot thank her enough. I would have no hesitation in highly recommending Marlene Ebejer to represent you as your legal representative.

Patricia

Thank you ladies for all your hard work, I will definitely recommend you to all my friends. Wishing you a great Christmas holiday and a loving and wonderful 2018 with your family and friends.

Linda

I’ve been a client of Ebejer & Associates since 2007, and have used them for all of my legal needs. Marlene and her team are responsive, informative and immensely helpful and supportive. I’ve always felt that my interests have been 100% supported, and there have certainly been occasions where the team has gone above and beyond for me. I cannot recommend Ebejer & Associates highly enough.

Shannyn

Accreditations & Memberships

Ebejer & Associates Lawyers are a proud supporter of Cancer Council Victoria’s Financial and Legal Support Program, providing legal support to vulnerable Victorians affected by cancer. If you, or someone you know, has cancer and needs support, learn about the services available at www.cancervic.org.au

Proudly Supporting Cancer Council Victoria

Ebejer & Associates Lawyers acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the regions we service, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land, water and community. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, their Elders past, present and emerging.

Ebejer & Associates Lawyers

6/19 Synnot Street, Werribee, 3030
Monday – Friday / 9am – 5pm

Suite 7.12, 365 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000
By appointment only

Bellarine Peninsula
By appointment only

PO Box 171, Portarlington, VIC, 3223

You're in a safe place