Victoria Legal Aid

Breaking an intervention order

If you breach the conditions of an intervention order or a counselling order you can be charged with a criminal offence.

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Breaking the conditions of a family violence intervention order is very serious.

You should tell the police if the respondent to an intervention order breaks the conditions.

If you are charged with breaking the conditions of an intervention order, you should get legal advice.

If a respondent breaks the conditions of an intervention order, family violence safety notice or a counselling order, the police can charge them with a criminal offence. This is called a breach.

The court takes breaches of intervention orders very seriously. If the court finds the respondent guilty, they can be given:

The respondent will also have a criminal record.

How to report a breach

Keep a diary of events. Write down dates, times and exactly what happened and what was said. This makes it easier for the police to take action against the respondent.

No breach is trivial. Even driving past the protected person’s house is significant if the respondent has been ordered not to go within 200 metres of it. The protected person can tell the police and report it.

The police must act on a report that the respondent has broken the conditions. They should take a signed statement from the person making the report. They will interview the respondent and any witnesses before deciding whether to lay any charges.

If you are unhappy with police action, you can make a complaint.

If you’re charged with breaching an order

Get legal advice.

The police can arrest and charge you if you:

  • break the conditions of a family violence safety notice, intervention order, interim intervention order or counselling order
  • have committed another kind of offence, for example, assault or property damage.

If you are charged, you will need to decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty. The court takes family violence and any breach of a court order very seriously. You should have a lawyer for your court hearing. Get legal advice well before the hearing date.

What happens if the protected person moves interstate?

From 25 November 2017, any current intervention order made in Victoria (even if it was made before 25 November 2017) is now recognised in all other states and territories in Australia.

The police in any state must enforce the order and you may be charged if you break the order.

If you have children who are named as protected persons in an intervention order against you, and the other parent plans to take them interstate to live, it is important that you get legal advice.

Will the order affect my job?

An order may affect your job if it stops you going to places you need to work at, or if you work with or near your family member. There are options so talk to a lawyer if this may affect you.

An order may affect licenses to work as a security officer and other occupations where security clearance is required. If you require security clearance, for your work, it is important to get legal advice about this.

If you are found guilty of breaking an order you could get a criminal record. This may make it more difficult to get certain kinds of jobs or travel in the future.

What about my gun licence?

An order can ban you from having a gun for the length of the order plus five years and cancel any permits you have. The police can search for guns and other weapons, and remove any they find.

You can apply to the court to be declared a ‘non-prohibited person’, if you need a gun licence for a reason such as employment. The police will be notified of this application and will make a recommendation for the court to consider as part of the application.

You must make the application to become a non-prohibited person within three months of a final family violence intervention order being made against you.

Get legal advice if you have any reason for having a gun, for example, if you carry one for work.

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 14 December 2023

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