*This is a brief edited summary and not a substitute for legal advice*
Intervention Orders (previously known as Restraining Orders) came into effect on 9/12/11.
The main aim of an intervention order is to protect people from abuse and protect children from hearing or seeing abuse. Intervention orders usually forbid someone (the defendant) from doing something, e.g making contact with another person (the protected person), returning to the family home (owned or rented), damaging property, attending a specific location. They can also tell them that they must do things, e.g surrender weapons or undertake a program dealing with drug abuse, problem gambling, anger control or mental health. Orders can also contain terms that protect children affected by violence and ensure their continuing safety and security.
An interim intervention order can be issued by police. The police do not have to have the protected person’s consent to do this. Anyone needing protection from an act of domestic or personal abuse may apply to The Magistrates Court.
An interim intervention order issued by police is effective when police hand it to the defendant and it serves as an application for an intervention order, it notifies the defendant when the court hearing will be and summons the defendant to come to court for the hearing.
When you make an application for an intervention order a preliminary hearing will be set. The magistrate will read your statement and decide if there is enough evidence to issue an interim intervention order. The defendant is not present at this hearing and the order is only effective when served on the defendant.
After issuing an interim intervention order, the defendant will be required within 8 days to appear in court. If the defendant does not appear at the determination hearing, the order will be made final. If the defendant does appear the court can – confirm or substitute and make it final; dismiss; adjourn, if necessary, e.g defendant has not yet been served; or if the defendant contests the application, set another date for hearing evidence.
All intervention orders, whether interim or not, have ongoing effect and will continue subject to any variation until revoked. They cannot be made for a specific period.
An intervention order can be changed or stopped by either you or the police or the defendant. The defendant has to wait at least 12 months after the order was issued. The court will only allow the defendant to apply if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was made.
The defendant must obey the order and may be charged with a criminal offence if it is ignored. A protected person who acts contrary to the order is not guilty of an offence, as long as their behaviour does not affect any other person protected by the order.
If you have been hurt or threatened, the police may charge the other person with a criminal offence such as assault or stalking. The police make a decision about criminal charges after hearing your story. Only the police can do this – you cannot lay or withdraw charges.