Unfortunately, family violence exists within our community. If you have suffered family violence, we suggest you immediately call the police.
Family violence is broadly defined in Victoria.
Family violence can include behaviour that is:
1. Physically or sexually abusive – i.e. a physical assault (i.e. punching and/or kicking) or sexual assault (i.e. rape or sexual interference).
2. Emotionally or psychologically abusive. Examples of emotional or psychological abuse include:
- Repeated nasty taunts, including racial taunts
- threatening to disclose a person’s sex
- threatening to withhold a person’s medication
- stopping a person from making or keeping friends or connections with family members
- threatening to commit suicide or self-harm
3. Economically abusive, which can include the following:
- Behaviour by a person that unreasonably controls another person by taking away their financial freedom -i.e. forcing a person to give up control over assets or income.
- By withholding or threatening to withhold financial support- i.e. preventing a person from accessing a joint bank account for the purposes of meeting day-to-day expenses.
4. is threatening, or
6. in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or well-being of that family member or another person, or
7. by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to above. For example, the following examples may amount to a child being subjected to family violence:
- If the child overheard threats of physical abuse by one family member towards another family member
- If the child saw or heard an assault of a family member by another family member
- If the child was required to comfort or help a family member who has been physically abused by another family member
- If the child was required to clean up a site after a family member has intentionally damaged another family member’s property
- If a child was present when police officers attend an incident involving physical abuse of a family member by another family member.
Intentional damage of property and/or a threat to damage property.
Family violence can also include intentionally damaging a family member’s property or threatening to do so.
Who can apply for an intervention order ? - anyone who is a ”family member”
“Family members” includes domestic partners, a person with which you have an intimate personal relationship with, and a person who is or has been a relative.
What can I do to protect myself against family violence?
If you have been the victim of family violence you can apply for and obtain an Intervention Order from the local Magistrates Court.
Such an Order prevents the person who has been violent towards you being able to speak with you and/or approach you (i.e. they can’t be within 200 metres of you, the children’s school, your house and/or your place of work).
Often such an order will mean that the person who has been violent towards you will also be removed from your home. (Because they can’t be within 200 m of you)
Children can also be included on your Intervention Order, if the children were exposed to family violence. This means the person who has been violent towards you is also not able to speak with or approach the children (some exceptions apply).
An Intervention Order can be obtained by:
- Making an application at your local Magistrates Court. You will need to telephone the court to make an appointment with a court officer so that you can fill out an Application form, seeking an Intervention Order. If appropriate your Application will then go before the Court/Magistrate. If you have enough evidence of family violence, the court will grant an Interim Intervention Order. This order will last for approximately three weeks before the matter is returned to the Court for further action.
- Alternatively, the Police also have the power to apply for and obtain an Intervention Order on your behalf.
- If the family violence occurs while the local Magistrates Court is closed, the police can issue a Family Violence Safety Notice. This is effectively a temporary Intervention Order.
What does an Intervention Order say/do ?
Technically an Intervention Order can include any term, but the standard terms include that your partner not:
- commit family violence
- attempt to locate, follow you, or keep you under surveillance
- intentionally damage any property owned by you or threaten to do so
- go to or remain within 200 m of your home address, or any other place where you live, work or attend university/school/childcare etc.
**Intervention Orders made in Victoria are recognised nationally.
***A standard intervention order would usually last for approximately 12 months, and the person who has allegedly committed family violence can consent to an Order being made “without admitting they committed family violence”.