In Australia, Intervention Orders
(formerly known as Restraining Orders) are mainly intended to protect people
from family violence. They may also be applied for to protect a person who
is being stalked, whether it is by a family member or not.
violence' includes physical violence, threats, abuse and emotional and
psychological intimidation. There are many domestic violence support
services in Australia. Some organisations will help victims deal with the
Police and go to court. They can also refer people to free legal services.
The Women's Domestic Crisis Service and the Domestic Violence and Incest
Resource Centre are two such services.
An Intervention order is a
court order made by a magistrate under the Crimes (Family Violence) Act
1987. It's purpose is to protect the victim from a member of their family or
household, or someone they have had a close relationship with. The Order can
be made without the other person (the defendant) being in court, however, it
only has legal force once the defendant has been given (served with) the
order. A magistrate can make an Intervention Order against the other person
if they have harassed or molested the victim or behaved in an offensive
manner, or they have assaulted or threatened to assault the victim, or they
have damaged or threatened to damage the victim's property, AND they are
likely to do it again. The Intervention Order is a way of protecting someone
from the other person's behaviour in the future. Regardless of what the
person has done in the past, the magistrate will only make the order if
there is reason to believe the behaviour will continue. An order may be
granted even if there's been no physical violence.
(interim) order can be made, which will cover the two to three weeks that it
will take for the defendant to be summoned to the court hearing. The final
order will be for whatever length of time the magistrate thinks suitable,
e.g. three months, one year, three years. If the order is still needed at
the end of that time, another order can be applied for about a month before
the order finishes.
Applying for an Intervention Order in Australia is
a civil procedure, not a criminal one. This means that it is regarded as a
personal dispute. Even if the Police are involved, an application for an
order doesn't mean that the other person is being charged with a criminal
offence (although the Police can do that as well). The defendant therefore
does not get a criminal record just because the magistrate decides to make
an Intervention Order. If the defendant breaks the order, however, this IS a
An Intervention Order can be applied for against a
family member or a person who is stalking someone. 'Family member' includes
a spouse (married or de facto), ex-spouse, parents, children and relatives.
It also includes any person with whom the victim has had an intimate
personal relationship (e.g. boyfriend or girlfriend - including same-sex
partner), your guardian (if victim is under 17 years old), or a person who
has ordinarily been a member of the household. The term 'relatives' includes
people who are the victims relatives through past and present marriages and
de facto relationships, as well as blood relations.
order may contain a number of seperate conditions. Each of these restricts
the behaviour of the other person in some specific way. These conditions can
- Behaviour towards the victim - the order can say that the
defendant is prohibited from asaulting, harassing, molesting, threatening or
intimidating the complainant.
- Having no contact with the victim -
the order can say that the defendant is prohibited from approaching,
telephoning or contacting the colplainant.
- Staying away from the
victim's home or work - the order can say that the defendant is prohibited
from being at or within a certain distance of the premises situated at....or
any other premises where the complainant lives or works.
away from a specified place - there may be a place where the complainant
goes regularly which the other person can be prohibited from going to, e.g.
a house or school.
- Protecting the complainant's property - the order
can say that the defendant is prohibited from damaging the victim's property
or jointly owned property.
- Other people harassing the complainant -
the order can say that the defendant is prohibited from causing another
person to engage in conduct prohibited by the order.