Legal assistance if you’re facing an intervention order

Our criminal lawyers help all sorts of individuals, including IVO clients

Family law is a complicated and sensitive area of law, and one that hit close to home. Even more so than other lawyers, solicitors who specialise in this particular field need to demonstrate:

  • Empathy and understanding
  • Sensitivity and tact
  • Tenacity in arguing your case

Most importantly, it requires a criminal solicitor who has experience dealing with this area of law and in particular with Intervention Orders.

Here at James Dowsley & Associates we have a dedicated Family Violence Intervention Order team based at our CBD office to assist you should you wish to apply for, or are faced with contesting, an Intervention Order.

Our dedicated solicitors can guide you through the Intervention Order process and provide legal advice on your matter. Should you require representation at a Contested Hearing, we can appear for you at that hearing.

Facing an IVO? Find out how our legal experts can help

Our Intervention Order team can be contacted in our CBD Office on (03) 8602 1400. Click here for our CBD Office address and contact form.

Types of IVOs

hile some people refer to these Orders as restraining orders thanks to American media, under Victorian law, Intervention Orders can be used for much more than just restricting the respondent’s movement.

Designed to protect people and property from specific individuals and reduce the likelihood of violence, IVOs are used both in family law as well as other cases to…

Restricting movement and contact

The most common reason IVOs are issued is to limit the respondent’s ability to interact with the applicant, banning them from making contact and prohibiting their ability to visit the applicant’s home or workplace.

Return property

In many cases, the terms of an IVO may require the respondent to hand over property the applicant is legally entitled to, either as the owner or as part of a property agreement.

Adhere to custody agreements

Custody can be one of the biggest points of contention in family law cases – it’s little wonder that IVOs are often lodged in order to compel parties to adhere to the terms of a prearranged.

Attend counselling

Under section 129 and 130 of the Family Violence Protection Act, in cases of family violence the Court may order respondents to an IVO to attend a mandatory assessment for counselling.

Turn in weapons

In addition to turning in currently-owned firearms and weapons, an IVO can also compel the respondent to suspend any ongoing license applications, preventing them from obtaining new ones while the IVO is active.

Limit communication

In cases where verbal threats have been made either online or in-person, an IVO can be issued restricting the respondent’s freedom to communicate with the applicant, and even require communication to be carried out through intermediaries.

Legal assistance

Thanks to changes to Victorian laws, Intervention Orders have real teeth, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Nowadays, police have considerable powers to enforce these orders, while breaches can result in significant criminal penalties.

Combine that with the surprising complexity of applying for or contesting such an order, and it becomes crucial that you seek out the assistance of a legal professional when it comes to cases where IVOs are on the table.

Contesting an IVO

If you’re contesting an IVO, you’ll need to attend a Contested Hearing at court, where both parties will need to present evidence supporting their case – just like a trial.
And like a trial, it’s imperative that your evidence and case are presented properly and cohesively by a legal specialist. With so much on the line, it’s simply not worth the risk of self-representing.

In addition to presenting your case itself, an IVO lawyer can also deal with all the paperwork and documentation that are required when contesting an IVO, saving you a considerable amount of stress in what can be an incredibly stressful period.

Changing an IVO

Circumstances change, and when they do, your IVO may need to change as well to reflect your new circumstances.

Whether you’re an applicant who wishes to modify their IVO or a respondent who wants to contest a specific term (or even get your IVO revoked entirely), the process of getting an IVO amended is complicated, and often requires assistance from a specialised IVO lawyer.

While the applicant can make amendments with relatively little effort, the court will need to explicitly grant respondents permission to apply for a change depending on their conduct and behaviour, as well as the risk of violence.

Assuming permission is granted, the respondent will need to attend a court hearing in the future (all the while adhering to the terms of the IVO in the meantime).

As part of this hearing, you’ll need to present evidence supporting your argument that the IVO is too restrictive or no longer necessary. In order to maximise the chances of a successful application, it’s imperative that you seek out legal representation.

Breaches of IVOs

While the process of applying for and contesting an IVO uses civil law procedures, under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 and Family Violence Protection Act are legally-binding, and can result in criminal penalties if breached.

The courts take a very harsh stance towards IVO breaches – even accidental breaches can result in criminal penalties, much to the surprise and dismay of respondents.

Just as with any other criminal trial, the best way to avoid a criminal penalty is to ensure that your case is presented by a legal professional.

In addition to defending you from criminal penalties, an IVO lawyer can also offer legal advice and assistance to help prevent breaches from ever occurring.

In many cases, respondents may realise that the terms of their IVO interfere with their ability to work and cause them to breach their IVO without intending to. Our IVO specialists can help you evaluate your options and determine what your next step should be.