Intervention orders, also known as restraining orders or protection orders, are legal tools designed to protect individuals from harmful behaviour, such as harassment, abuse or threats from another individual. Family lawyers in Melbourne can assist you with obtaining or defending yourself against intervention orders, providing you with expert guidance and representation throughout the process. This article will discuss the types of intervention orders available in Australia, the steps involved in obtaining or defending against them, and the specific role of family lawyers in this process.
Types of Intervention Orders
In Australia, intervention orders typically fall into two main categories: family violence intervention orders and personal safety intervention orders.
- Family Violence Intervention Orders – These orders protect individuals from family members who exhibit violent or abusive behaviour. They can cover physical, emotional, financial and psychological abuse.
- Personal Safety Intervention Orders – These orders protect individuals from non-family members such as neighbours, colleagues or acquaintances who engage in threatening, abusive or harassing behaviour.
Obtaining an Intervention Order
Obtaining an intervention order in Australia is a relatively simple process. To obtain an intervention order, the applicant must follow these steps:
- Application – The individual seeking protection, or a family lawyer on their behalf, will complete an application at the local Magistrates’ Court.
- Interim Order – If the court believes there’s an immediate risk of harm, an interim order may be granted, providing immediate temporary protection until a final order is determined.
- Hearing – Both parties will attend a court hearing, where the magistrate will listen to the evidence and decide whether to grant a final order.
Defending Against an Intervention Order
Individuals facing an intervention order have the right to defend themselves against the allegations. Family lawyers in Melbourne can represent them, offering guidance and advice on the best course of action.
In the process of defending against an order, the respondent can:
- Consent to the order without admitting guilt.
- Negotiate the terms of the order, such as the duration or specific conditions.
- Contest the order, which may involve a contested hearing or trial where both parties present their evidence.
Consequences of Intervention Orders
Intervention orders can have significant consequences for both parties. For the protected person, the order can provide a sense of safety and security, preventing contact with the respondent and reducing the risk of further harm. For the respondent, breaching an intervention order can result in criminal charges, and the order may have an impact on their reputation, employment or child custody arrangements. For a respondent especially, the consequences of an intervention order can be far-reaching, as a breach of the order (even an unintentional one) will be recorded and treated as a criminal offence, which will result in the respondent having a criminal record.
The Role of Family Lawyers in Melbourne
Family lawyers in Melbourne play a crucial role in helping clients on both sides to navigate the complexities of intervention orders. Beyond providing up-to-date and concise legal advice, a family lawyer can also assist with the application process and act on their client’s behalf during this process. A family lawyer will also be able to represent their clients in court if the order is contested by the respondent.