Victoria Legal Aid

Anyone can experience family violence

It happens across communities and in all kinds of relationships.

Your experience of family violence might be different to someone else’s. A family violence intervention order is one way you can get protection. 

Our My safety tool can help you understand common separation issues, plan for your safety and find support.

You can also learn more about family violence support services.

You can apply for a family violence intervention order at any Magistrates’ Court in Victoria if you are over 18.

Intervention orders can also protect your children if you include them in your application.

You can apply for an intervention order at the Children’s Court if you are:

  • aged between 14 and 18, or
  • applying for your child who is under 18 and where you are not applying for an order for yourself in the Magistrates’ Court.

When applying for a family violence intervention order you need to:

  • talk to the court registrar
  • fill in an application form
  • provide information about the people included in the application and the respondent.

Applying for an intervention order at court can take a long time. It is a good idea to make an appointment with the Magistrates’ Court to do this. It is not just a matter of filling in a form.

Get legal advice before you go to court to make the application. We can help you with free information and advice about family violence.

Making an application

Go to court

Call the Magistrates' Court to make a time to have your application processed. The court's website can help you find your nearest Magistrates' CourtExternal Link .

Many courts also accept applications onlineExternal Link , depending on where you live. You might prefer not to go to your nearest court for safety reasons – explain this to the court staff.

If you are not comfortable using English, tell the court staff straight away. They will organise a qualified interpreter for you.

Take any evidence to support why you need an intervention order with you to court (for example, abusive text messages, photos of property damage, doctor’s reports).

Fill in the application form

You need to fill in an application form for a family violence intervention order. You can get the form when you go to court or you can download it from the Magistrates’ Court family violence websiteExternal Link .

You will be asked for information about:

  • names and birth dates of your children and other family members who need protecting and their relationship to the respondent
  • the respondent, including information that can help identify and find them
  • information about your relationship with the respondent
  • if the respondent has a gun or a firearms permit
  • previous court orders, such as parenting orders or intervention orders
  • how the respondent has behaved, including details about the incidents and why you think they are likely to occur again.

You will also be asked what you want the respondent to be prevented from doing. There are standard conditions on the form to help you.

You can apply for any conditions you want. Think about what you need to make you feel safe.

Interview with the court registrar

Once you have filled in the application form, you will be interviewed by the court registrar. The registrar is a person who works for the court and helps you apply for an intervention order.

Give the registrar details about what happened, including dates, times and places. Start with the most recent event. Explain why you are afraid the family violence might happen again.

Tell the registrar if you do not want the respondent to know where you are living.

Some of what the registrar needs to know may be extremely personal – be prepared for this. Tell the registrar as much as you can. This helps the registrar write up your application.

Tell the registrar if the respondent has used or threatened to use a weapon or has access to a gun. An intervention order can suspend the respondent’s gun licence. This means the respondent must hand in all guns to police.

Also tell the registrar if you want to change parenting orders. See Family violence orders to protect children.

If you do not feel safe and want immediate protection, speak to the registrar about getting:

Getting an interim order

To get an interim order you will need to see a magistrate. You may be able to see a magistrate after your interview with the registrar, however, you may need to wait. If the court is busy, you may have to come back another day.

You can ask for the same conditions you included in your application for an intervention order.

An interim order has the same power as a final order. See How intervention orders work.

Getting a warrant

If the registrar believes your personal safety is seriously threatened, or that your property is likely to be damaged, they can issue a warrant. A warrant is a court order that means the police can arrest the respondent. A magistrate may also issue a warrant.

Get a copy of your application and any other court documents

After the interview, the registrar types up your application. Check the details are correct and the conditions are what you want. Once you agree with the application, you will be asked to sign it.

The registrar will give you a copy of the application and the summons that tells you and the respondent when the next court date is.

You will also get a copy of any other court documents that the registrar has prepared. This may include an interim order or a warrant.

The registrar then gives a copy of the application, summons and any other court documents to the police. The police find and serve the respondent with the documents. An interim intervention order starts when the police serve (give) them a copy of the order. See When a family violence intervention order starts.

If the registrar or magistrate issued a warrant, the police will also arrest the respondent.

Going back to court

The summons will include information about when your next court date is (called a ‘mention’). This will be an opportunity for both parties to receive legal advice and try to finalise the matter. If the matter is unable to be finalised, a magistrate can set a date for a contested hearing. A contested hearing is when a magistrate listens to your application for an intervention order, hears evidence and makes a decision about whether a final order should be put in place.

It's important to go to all court dates that relate to your matter so that you get to have your say. If you don't turn up, the magistrate can still make an order, but you may not get an intervention order that works for you.

If you have not heard from the court a few days before the court date, call the registrar to check that the respondent has been served with the court documents. If the police can’t find the respondent, the court date may be changed.

Find further information on getting a lawyer for cross-examination in a family violence intervention order hearing. The final hearing is also called a contested hearing.

How does an intervention order protect me?

An intervention order starts working once the police serve (give) it to the respondent. See When a family violence intervention order starts.

So does a family violence safety notice. A family violence safety notice protects an adult from a family member who is using family violence.

An intervention order and a safety notice protect you by outlining conditions that the respondent must follow. For example, the respondent may not be allowed to come within 200 metres of where you live or work.

If a respondent does not obey the conditions in the order, they are breaking the law. See Breaking an intervention order.

Who needs to know about the order?

Carry your intervention order with you. Give a copy to people at places where you and your children regularly go, such as school, kindergarten, childcare, or work. Then they can call the police if necessary.

Can the police help me if the respondent has to move out?

Yes. If the intervention order says that the respondent can no longer live in the home, the respondent must move out and cannot return (unless there is a condition that allows the respondent to collect his or her possessions).

The police can help you. They cannot evict the respondent, but they can arrest the respondent for not obeying the conditions of your order. See Breaking an intervention order.

You can also arrange for the police to be at your home while the respondent collects their things if you are worried about:

  • your safety or the safety of your children
  • damage to your property.

Can the police help me get my things from the house if I am leaving?

Yes. You can get the police to go with you to get your personal things if you are leaving your house and you are worried about what the respondent might do. However, the police will be there to make sure that you are not threatened or assaulted, not to help you move your things.

Can I go interstate and still be protected?

From 25 November 2017, any current intervention order made in Victoria (even if it was made before 25 November 2017) will be recognised in all other states and territories in Australia. There is no need to register the order interstate however it is best if you keep a copy of the order with you.

The police in that state must enforce the order. The respondent can be charged if they break the order.

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for violence, abuse and personal safety.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at

Reviewed 17 May 2024

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