Applying for an intervention order (FVIO)
A family violence intervention order is a court order to protect a person, their children and their property from a family member's behaviour. Call triple zero (000) If you are in danger.
Court can be a complex process. The steps below provide general information about applying for a family violence intervention order (FVIO). It does not cover all scenarios. If the police have applied for an intervention order on your behalf, go to the understanding police applications page for more information.
STEP 1: Call triple zero (000) if you are in danger
You should call triple zero (000) if:
- someone is injured or in need of urgent medical help
- your life or property is being threatened or in danger
- you have witnessed a serious accident or crime.
When you call triple zero (000), an operator will ask for your:
- phone number
- exact address or location.
If you can't speak English an operator will organise a translator for you.
If you are not in immediate danger and the police have not made an FVIO application on your behalf, you can apply to the court for an intervention order.
If you are under the age of 18 and would like to apply for a intervention order, go to the Children’s Court of Victoria website.
STEP 2: Apply for an intervention order
The process for applying for an intervention order has temporarily changed due to the coronavirus restrictions. Visit our frequently asked questions for more information.
If you are unable to apply online please complete the following documents and contact your nearest court:
You do not need to come to court to apply for a family violence intervention order (FVIO). You can lodge an online application for a FVIO to be heard at all court locations. Apply online now for a FVIO.
If it is not safe for you to complete your application online, call the court to discuss your options. You can download an application form from our website or apply for an order at your local Magistrates’ Court.
On the form, you will be asked to provide:
- information about the respondent including their name and address
- information about how the respondent has behaved, including details about what has happened and why you think it might happen again.
- the names and birth dates of your children and other family members who need protecting and their relationship to the respondent
- the conditions you want in the order.
Once the court receives your application, the family violence registrar will call you to explain the next steps.
STEP 3: Go to the FVIO appointment
If you’ve completed the paper-based family violence intervention order application form, bring it to your appointment.
You will be asked to read over the application and sign it to promise it is true and correct. If your application is approved, a registrar will give you a copy of the documents. Documents may be an:
For more information, see orders a magistrate can make.
STEP 4: Informing the respondent
If an application and summons has been issued, the police will serve a copy of the application on the respondent. You can contact the Magistrates’ Court where the application was filed to see if the respondent has been served.
If an interim order was made, the police will inform you when they have served it.
If a warrant has been issued, the respondent may be arrested. Go to the bail and custody page for more information.
STEP 5: Go to court
It is important to go to court for the FVIO hearing. You should plan to be at court all day. If the respondent has been served and does not come to court, an order can be made in their absence.
A magistrate may make a final or interim FVIO if the:
- the respondent has committed family violence against you
- the respondent’s behaviour is likely to happen again
- you fear for your safety.
If a FVIO is made, the magistrate will read the conditions of the order out in court. A registrar will give you a copy of the FVIO after the hearing.
If you don’t agree with the magistrate's decision, you can appeal to the County Court of Victoria.
Go to the family violence matters page for information about going to court.
What happens next?
The respondent can agree to a FVIO but disagree to what was said in the application. This is called consent without admission of the allegations.
The respondent can also contest the making of a FVIO. If this occurs, you will need to attend court for a contested hearing. At the hearing, a magistrate will hear evidence from witnesses and decide whether a FVIO is made. If you have witnesses, you should arrange for them to be at the hearing.
If an FVIO is made and the respondent breaks the order, they can be charged by the police. This is called a breach. You should contact the police immediately if this occurs.
A FVIO is in effect until it expires or it is cancelled by a magistrate. See the changing an intervention order page for more information.
The order will contain conditions. Conditions are rules that restrict the respondent’s behaviour. The conditions are to protect the applicant and other family members included in the order.
The application form has a list of conditions for you to choose from. These are some examples.
The respondent must not:
- damage the protected person’s property, including things that are jointly owned by the protected person and respondent, such as pets
- attempt to locate or follow the protected person or keep them under surveillance
- publish on the internet or by email or social media or other electronic communication any material about the protected person
- contact or communicate with the protected person by any means
- approach or remain within a certain distance of the protected person
- get another person to do anything the respondent must not do under the order.
The applicant can also ask the magistrate to order the respondent to:
- return the personal property of the protected person or a family member
- return jointly owned property that allows the protected person’s everyday life to continue with little disruption
- hand in any firearms or weapons to police
- suspend or cancel any firearms authority, weapons approval or weapons exemption.
You can also talk to the court registrar if you want:
- the conditions to apply to an associate of the respondent
- to change (vary) or suspend a parenting order.
The magistrate makes the final decision on the conditions that will be in the order.
Breaking the conditions is very serious. If the respondent breaks the conditions, you should tell the police.
If you are charged with breaking the conditions of an intervention order, you should get legal advice.
If a child hears, sees or is around family violence in any way, the law considers that they have been affected by family violence. This includes if a child:
- sees police in their house
- sees damaged family property
- sees a parent with injuries from family violence.
Children must be included on intervention orders if they have been affected by family violence. Children and other family members included on orders are called affected family members.
When children are not included in an application, the magistrate will still ask if they have heard, seen or been around family violence in any way. The magistrate may decide to include them in the order or make a separate intervention order on their behalf.
The court may revive, vary, discharge or suspend any family law order made by the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Law Courts. This means the respondent may not be allowed to spend time with the children as set out in the parenting order until the family violence intervention order has been varied or lifted.
Let the court know about any child protection orders
If there are any child protection orders by the Department of Health and Human Services (Child Protection), you need to tell your lawyer or the court. These will affect the conditions that can be in your intervention order.
An intervention order is not a parenting order
See the Victoria Legal Aid information on parenting orders. Parenting orders can cover:
- who the children will live with
- who the children spend time and communicate with
- any other issues relevant to the care of the children, such as schooling or medical treatment.
- Orders a magistrate can make
Interim intervention order
This is a temporary order that can be made before the respondent is told about the application.
It is valid until the court makes another order.
Final intervention order
A magistrate can make an order after they have heard the evidence at a hearing. The magistrate must be satisfied that the respondent has used family violence and is likely to do so again.
A magistrate can also make a final order if:
- both sides agree (consent) to the order being made
- the respondent has not opposed the order, for example, they did not turn up to the hearing.
The order will be made for as long as the magistrate determines is necessary to protect the safety of the affected family members.
An undertaking is an agreement made by the applicant and the respondent.
The undertaking lists ways the respondent must behave. The respondent has to sign it as a promise that they will follow the agreement.
An undertaking is not an order of the court and the police cannot enforce it.
The application for a family violence intervention order may be withdrawn, only with the leave (permission) of the court.
If the respondent does not follow the undertaking, you can choose to make a fresh application for an interim intervention order to protect you.
Further and better particulars
This is a document that gives details of the incidents described in an application for an intervention order.
A magistrate can order to have this if an applicant or respondent asks for more details, or if it will help the magistrate.
An applicant can withdraw an application with the leave (permission) of the court.
The court will need a party seeking leave to withdraw to;
- file a written notice of withdrawal, to be served on the respondent by the registrar, or,
- if the party attends court, make an oral application to the court.
After hearing the evidence, the court can refuse to make an intervention order if it believes there is not enough evidence to support the application.
This is not a full list of legislation associated with this topic. See the Victorian Government's legislation website for more information.