Victoria Legal Aid

Family violence orders to protect children

Your children can be included in your application for a family violence intervention order if you fear for their safety.

If you fear for your children’s safety, you can include them on your intervention order application as ‘additional affected family members’.

A magistrate can include a child on the order, even if the applicant does not ask for this to happen.

Children who are exposed to family violence are particularly vulnerable. Family violence can have a serious impact on a child's physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.

If you are applying for an intervention order, you will be asked if you believe that your safety or the safety of your child or children are threatened by the respondent.

You can ask the magistrate to stop the respondent:

  • living with the children
  • spending time with the children
  • communicating with the children.

A child can apply for an intervention order if they are 14 or older and the court agrees. In these cases, the matter is usually heard in the Children’s CourtExternal Link . Ask the court registrar about this.

A magistrate must make decisions to protect children

A magistrate must consider if there are children who have seen or heard the family violence. The magistrate will ask the applicant or respondent if they have any children and how the family violence has affected them.

A magistrate can decide to include a child on the final order, even if the applicant did not name them in the application. The child’s safety is the most important consideration.

If the magistrate decides that the child needs to be protected, the intervention order may say that the respondent cannot have contact with the child.

Intervention orders and parenting orders

Family violence intervention orders are legally separate to parenting orders. A family violence intervention order sets out conditions that the respondent must follow. A parenting order sets out parenting arrangements for a child or children that both parties must follow.

The relationship between family violence intervention orders and parenting orders is complex. A family violence intervention order does not stop the respondent applying for a parenting order to see the children. It is important to get legal advice.

When a magistrate makes a family violence intervention order to protect a child, they must check if there are parenting orders in place. A magistrate can decide to suspend, revive (restore), vary (change) or discharge (cancel) a parenting order if certain conditions are met.

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 12 April 2022

In this section