Victoria Legal Aid

Change, extend or appeal a family violence intervention order

You might be able to apply to appeal, change or extend your family violence intervention order or appeal the magistrate’s decision.

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 may be able to appeal the magistrate’s decision about a family violence intervention order if you can show the magistrate made an error when deciding your case. You must apply within 30 days.

You may be able to apply to change your family violence intervention order if:

  • the conditions are very difficult to live with
  • there has been a significant change in circumstances.

If you want the order to last longer, you should apply for an extension at least four to eight weeks before it ends.
Get legal advice before you apply to appeal, change or cancel the order.

Can I appeal the magistrate’s decision about the intervention order?

Maybe. You can appealExternal Link to the County Court of Victoria if you can show that the magistrate deciding your case made an error.

This error could be legal, factual or discretionary. A discretionary error would be to do with a decision the magistrate made that was based on their own reason or judgement.

The error may be related to the magistrate’s decision about:

Submitting your application

You must submit your application for the appeal within 30 days of the magistrate’s decision.

Be aware that you cannot appeal an interim orderExternal Link or a family violence safety notice.

Where to get more information

Contact the Magistrates’ Court of VictoriaExternal Link and ask to speak to the registrarExternal Link for more information. If your case was heard in the Children’s Court of Victoria, contact the Children’s CourtExternal Link registrar.

Before you appeal, get legal advice.

The respondentExternal Link must follow the conditions of the order until the County Court makes a decision about the appeal.

Can an intervention order be changed?

Yes, however only a magistrate can do this. The protected person or respondent cannot make this decision.

Anyone named on a final or interim order may be able to apply to change it. A respondent must get the court’s permission before they apply. This is called asking for leave of the court.

What happens next?

You will be told if someone applies to change your order.

If you apply, you will have to go back to court on another day for a hearingExternal Link . Before the hearing, get legal advice.

How does a magistrate make a decision?

When deciding whether to change the order, the magistrate will consider:

  • why you want to change the order
  • how the changes affect the safety of the person or people that the order protects, especially if the order protects children
  • what the protected person thinks about the application
  • if the protected person has a lawyer
  • the views of the protected person’s parent or guardian if the protected person is a child
  • the views of the police if the police made the application.

The magistrate may not change the order if children are involved or if they think the conditions are necessary.

Why would I want to change an intervention order?

I am a protected person

You may want to change the order if you:

  • find the order’s conditions difficult to manage
  • need more protection and want to include more conditions on your order – for example, if you do not feel safe living with the respondent anymore and want them to move out
  • want to have contact with the respondent – for example, you feel it is safe to spend time with or speak to the respondent.

I am a respondent

You may want to change the order if:

  • you find the order’s conditions difficult to manage
  • your circumstances have changed significantly.

A change of circumstances might be if you get a job in a building next door to the protected person’s workplace.

You could ask to change a condition that stops you from coming near their workplace so you can go to work without breachingExternal Link the order.

If you are a respondent you will need to get permission from the court before you can apply to change the order. This is called asking for leave. There will be a court hearing where the magistrate decides if you can apply.

The magistrate will only give you permission to apply if you can show that:

  • your circumstances have changed since the order was made
  • the change is significant enough to justify changing the order.

Note: if the respondent breaches the order, they are breaking the law and the police can charge them with a criminal offenceExternal Link . This applies even if the protected person says the behaviour is okay.

Learn more about breaching an order.

How do I apply to change the intervention order?

If you want to change the order you can contact the court to apply in person, or you can apply onlineExternal Link . However, if you are a respondent you will need to get the court’s permission first, before you apply.

Other important information:

  • If you apply in-person, a registrar may be able to help you fill in the application form.
  • If the police applied for an order for your protection, contact them if you wish to change the order.
  • Other people named on the order will be told you have applied to change it.

It is a good idea to write down the changes you want. Give a copy to the registrar before the hearing date so that they can put it on the file for the magistrate to consider.

Can the intervention order be extended?

If you are the protected person and still need protection when the order is due to end, you can apply for the order to last longer. This is called an extension.

Contact the court if you want to apply in person, or you can apply onlineExternal Link .

You should apply for an extension at least four weeks (ideally eight weeks) before the order ends. It is therefore important to make a note of when your intervention order ends. Try putting a reminder in your phone or diary to remind you eight weeks before the end date.

No-one will remind you that the order is going to end soon. It is up to you to check this.

What if the order has already expired?

If the order has ended and you still need protection, you can apply for a new intervention order.

The court or police will tell the respondent if you apply for a new order.

Can the intervention order be cancelled?

Only a magistrate can revoke (cancel) an intervention order. The protected person or respondent cannot make this decision.

How to submit an application to cancel the order

If you want to cancel the order, you can contact the court to apply in-person, or you can apply onlineExternal Link . Before you apply, get legal advice.

However, if you are a respondent you will need to get the court’s permission before you apply. Talk to the registrarExternal Link about how to do this. You can contact the registrar by calling the Magistrates’ Court in your areaExternal Link .

What happens next?

If you apply, you will have to go back to court on another day for a hearingExternal Link .

A magistrate may not agree to cancel the order if they think someone still needs protection or there are children involved.

You will be told if someone applies to cancel your order.

A respondent is not allowed to pressure an applicantExternal Link , affected family memberExternal Link or protected person to change or cancel the order. They are also not allowed to get someone else to do this. If this happens, the respondent is breaking the law by breaching the order.

Tell the police immediately if the respondent or someone they know tries to pressure you to change or cancel the order.

Can I travel interstate or overseas?

The intervention order will apply across Australia. The conditions stay the same no matter where in Australia you are. Police must enforce the order.

If you are a protected person, it is best to keep a copy of the order with you.

If you want to move interstate or overseas and have children with the other person named on the order, get legal advice first.

Key things to remember

  • Only a magistrate can change or cancel an intervention order. A protected person or respondent cannot make these decisions.
  • The magistrate may not agree to change or cancel an order if they think the conditions are necessary or there are children involved.
  • If you think a magistrate made a mistake when deciding your case, you might be able to appeal. You must do this within 30 days of the magistrate’s decision.
  • You may be able to apply to change the order. Get legal advice first.
  • A respondent must get the court’s permission before applying to change the order.
  • If you want the order to last longer, you should apply for an extension at least four to eight weeks before the order ends. If the order has ended, you can apply for a new order.
  • A respondent or someone they know must not pressure someone to change or cancel the order. If they do this, they may be breaking the law by breaching the order. Tell the police if this happens.

More support and information

Visit Other support for violence, abuse and personal safety for information about:

  • legal services and how to find a lawyer
  • family violence and support services you can talk to about your situation
  • services to support you if you are First Nations, LGBTIQA+, a migrant, refugee, young or older person
  • free booklets, fact sheets, videos and other publications and resources.

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 www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 03 June 2024

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