Family violence intervention orders

Family violence intervention orders

A family violence intervention order protects a person from a family member who is using family violence.

Family violence is behaviour between family members that causes fear. It includes emotional and financial abuse, as well as physical violence and sexual abuse.

About intervention orders

You can apply for a family violence intervention order at your local Magistrates’ Court. If you need protection straight away, you can apply for an interim intervention order. If you fear for your children’s safety you can include them in your application.

The person the intervention order will protect is called the affected family member or the protected person. The person the intervention order is made against is called the respondent.

Intervention orders include conditions to stop the respondent from using family violence against the protected person. If the respondent breaks the conditions of an intervention order the police can charge them with a criminal offence.

What is family violence?

Family violence is harmful behaviour that is used to control, threaten, force or dominate a family member through fear. It includes:

  • physical abuse, such as hitting or pushing a person 
  • sexual abuse, such as forcing a person to have sex
  • emotional or psychological abuse, such as controlling who a person can see and when, or calling them names
  • financial abuse, such as controlling a person's money without their consent.

Family violence is also behaviour that makes a family member fear for the safety of:

  • their property
  • another person
  • an animal.

If a child hears, sees or is around family violence in any way, they are also covered by the law. This includes if a child:

  • helps a family member who has been abused
  • sees damaged property in the family home
  • is at a family violence incident when the police arrive.

The police have to respond to all reports of family violence. They can act even if you don’t want them to because they must put the safety of you and your children first.

Who are family members?

Under family violence law, family members are:

  • people who share an intimate personal relationship – for example, married, de facto or domestic partners – whether or not there is a sexual relationship
  • parents and children, including children of an intimate partner
  • relatives by birth, marriage or adoption
  • people you treat like a family member – for example, a carer, guardian or person who is related to you within the family structure of your culture.

The law also protects a person from anyone who was a family member in the past.

More information

Conditions in a family violence intervention order

What the police do about family violence

Applying for an intervention order

If an application has been made against you

Going to court for an intervention order hearing

How intervention orders work

Breaking an intervention order

Get help

Find out how you can get help with family violence.