Court practice changes for family violence intervention orders

Court practice changes for family violence intervention orders

Monday, 22 July 2019

The Magistrates' Court of Victoria is implementing two important family violence intervention order practice improvements state-wide this week.

From Wednesday 24 July 2019:

  1. the court will 'go live' with updated standard conditions for Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs)
  2. an information sheet for affected family members and respondents will be attached to every interim and final order made.

The court has drafted the new standard conditions in response to recommendations from the 2015 Coronial Inquest into the death of Luke Batty, which recommended the use of clear and unambiguous language for family violence intervention orders.  In 2016, the Royal Commission into Family Violence endorsed the simplification of FVIO conditions.

New conditions

The new standard conditions have been drafted to be clearer and easier to understand for the people who they apply to. They have been user tested with applicants and respondents who say they are easier to understand than the old conditions.

The new standard conditions are grouped into categories which address particular issues.

  • Behaving safely – No family violence
  • Taking responsibility – No getting others to do things for you
  • Contact
    • No contact with protected people
    • Limited contact – respectful behaviour
    • Listening respectfully and behaving safely
  • Leaving protected people alone – no stalking or surveillance
  • Respectful use of technology – no harmful images or messages
  • Safety of children: Arranging to spend time with them
  • Keeping everyone safe: no firearms/weapons
  • Attending courts, tribunals mediation or counselling
  • Getting help: referrals and support

It is possible to ‘mix and match’ the standard conditions so that they meet the particular needs of a client. It is also possible to draft free text orders.

When will they start?

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria has advised that it will start using these conditions from 24 July 2019. The conditions will also be used in the Children’s Court of Victoria from this date.

There will be a transitional period where applications and orders made before 24 July 2019 return to court. These old orders can be converted into the new language, but this will be up to the Magistrate in an individual case.

We recommend checking with your local court in the morning meeting about which set of conditions it intends to use before starting negotiations on a matter. 

Will Victoria Police use these conditions?

Not yet. Victoria Police systems have not yet been updated so for the time being family violence safety notices and other applications made by Victoria Police will continue to contain the old conditions.

When a Victoria Police initiated matter comes to court, Magistrates will again have the choice about whether to continue to use the old conditions or whether to use the new standard conditions. This will be assessed on a case by case basis and may depend on how a transitional matter comes before the court.

The changes will impact MCV’s and Victoria Police’s technology infrastructure, forms and processes. This means that the Court will be managing two sets of conditions until all systems can integrate the new language. 

Information sheets

Both affected family members and respondents will be provided with an information sheet attached to an interim intervention order or a final intervention order.

These information sheets further clarify in plain language what an intervention order means and provide clear referrals to legal advice.

More information

If you have any questions or experience any significant issues transitioning to the new language please contact Lauren Galvin, Program Manager Family Violence at lauren.galvin@vla.vic.gov.au.

 

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