Domestic violence, also referred to as family violence, describes a crime involving violence which occurs in the domestic setting where the victim is a family member or an intimate partner of the accused.

These types of cases are taken very seriously by the Victorian courts. The police regularly respond to reports of domestic violence and will often take action against an alleged perpetrator, even if an alleged victim does not want the police to do so. The courts also give cases involving family violence priority, which can mean that if you are accused of family violence your matter will progress through the court a lot quicker than other matters. It is therefore important to get an experienced criminal lawyer in Melbourne to help you understand what is involved.

When you are charged with an offence involving family violence you can also expect to be the respondent to an application for an intervention order brought by the police on behalf of the person you are accused of committing violence against.

Family violence

Family violence is classified as harmful behaviour directed towards a partner or family member to injure, threaten or coerce that person, causing that person to fear for their physical safety, the wellbeing of their property, or the safety or welfare of another.

The definition of family violence includes physical violence and abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, coercion, controlling or dominating behaviour, and damaging property owned by that person. Some examples of behaviour that might constitute family violence include (but are not limited to):

● an assault;

● a sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour;

● stalking;

● repeated derogatory taunts;

● intentionally damaging or destroying property;

● unreasonably denying a family member the financial autonomy that he or she would otherwise have had;

● preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture; and

● unlawfully depriving a family member from his or her liberty.

Family violence also includes conduct that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of various types of family violence.

Intervention orders

Intervention orders are also known as personal safety orders, restraining orders, apprehended violence orders, family violence orders and domestic violence orders.

Broadly speaking, an intervention order is a court order which prohibits or limits you from having contact with a particular individual or group of people or, if you are permitted to have contact with them, it will be on the basis you do not commit family violence.

In Victoria, there are two types of intervention orders. Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIO) and Personal Safety Intervention Orders (PSIO). A person can apply for an intervention order if they are the victim of an offence, multiple offences or ongoing problematic behaviours that are prohibited under either the Family Violence Protection Act (2008) or the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act (2010).

The Family Violence Protection Act (2008) lists the circumstances when an intervention order may be applied for and granted as well as outlining certain types of family violence offences such as breaching an intervention order.

If you are accused of assault or threatening violence in a domestic setting, the police investigating the matter nearly always apply for an intervention order on behalf of the person you are accused of assaulting or threatening. If the court determines that you have probably engaged in family violence or pose a threat to a family member/s, then they will put an intervention order in place.

If an intervention order is made against you and the police become aware that you have failed to abide by its conditions you will be charged with breaching the intervention order. The penalties for breaching an intervention order include immediate imprisonment.

The type of conditions that are often included in an intervention order are:

● prohibiting any behaviour that is considered by the court to constitute family violence;

● prohibiting you from contacting or communicating with the protected person, or asking someone else to do it for you; and

● prohibiting you from going near the protected person, or asking someone else to do it for you. 

If a child has witnessed family violence, they will be included in the intervention order, even if the alleged violence was not directed towards them.

Given the penalties for breaching an intervention include immediate imprisonment, it is crucial to receive advice from an experienced family violence lawyer.  

Family violence lawyer in Melbourne

If you are facing an allegation of family violence you should hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. They will assist you with the criminal charges and the intervention order. A family violence lawyer will help you understand the court process, the difference between criminal proceedings and intervention order proceedings, make you aware of your options and give you advice as to how to approach both matters.

Stary Norton Halphen routinely deal with cases involving different types of intervention orders. Our criminal lawyers in Melbourne have many years of experience defending those accused of family violence who are also facing an intervention order application. We are therefore well equipped to provide you with advice as to the best possible outcomes available to you when you are accused of family violence.

If you have been charged with a family violence offence, or had an intervention order placed against you, contact our team.