Victoria Legal Aid

Family violence safety notices

A family violence safety notice is issued by the police to protect an adult from a family member who is using family violence if a person needs immediate protection and the court is not open.

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.

The police can apply for a family violence safety notice if someone needs immediate protection.

The safety notice can protect the affected family members before an intervention order application is heard in court.

A police officer can only issue a family violence safety notice if they believe a respondent is an adult. The police cannot issue a notice against a person under 18 or someone with a cognitive impairment.

A safety notice can protect:

  • an affected family member to make sure they are safe from the respondent
  • a child who has heard, seen or was around family violence in any way
  • the property of the affected family member.

Applying for a family violence safety notice

A police officer can apply for a safety notice in person, by phone or electronic means while they are at the family violence incident. A sergeant or higher-ranking police officer looks at the application. If they agree the affected family member needs protecting, they can issue a safety notice.

A police officer can apply for a safety notice even if the affected family member does not want them to. The officer will make it clear to the respondent that applying for a safety notice is a police decision.

Getting a family violence safety notice

Once a family violence safety notice is issued, a police officer must serve a copy to the respondent and explain what the notice means. The affected family member also gets a copy and the notice is filed with the Magistrates’ Court.

A family violence safety notice is also:

The summons will tell you the time, date and place of the first mention date. This is the first date that you go to court. See Going to court for a family violence intervention order hearing.

The first mention date must be within 14 days from the safety notice being served on the respondent.

How a safety notice works

A family violence safety notice starts once it has been served on the respondent by a police officer.

A safety notice has conditions (rules) to stop the respondent from using family violence. They may include the same conditions as an intervention order.

If the respondent disobeys the conditions, the police can arrest them. See Breaking an intervention order.

A safety notice continues until a magistrate decides:

  • to make a family violence intervention order and it is served on the respondent, or
  • not to make a family violence intervention order.

Leaving the family home

To protect family members, the police can include a condition in the safety notice that the respondent must leave the family home immediately. This means the respondent must not live in, re-enter or visit the home until a magistrate decides what will happen next.

If the respondent has nowhere to stay, the police will do their best to help find emergency accommodation.

If the respondent refuses to leave or returns to the family home, the police can use reasonable force to remove them. The police can also charge the respondent with a criminal offence for breaking the safety notice.

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 www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 17 May 2024

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