Information for respondents

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Information for respondents

Will I get a criminal record?

Having an order taken out against you is not the same as being charged with a crime. It is a civil process. This means it is not on the public record, but the police and the court will have a record.

However, the police must investigate, and there are serious consequences if you:

These are crimes. If you are charged and found guilty, you will get a criminal record.

Do I have to leave home?

A magistrate can make a condition that says you 'must not go to or remain within 200 metres of the address of your home, or any other place the affected person lives, works or attends school/childcare'. This means that you might have to leave home. This is called an exclusion order. You can argue against this order being made or any other condition. Get legal help.

If there is an exclusion order you must stay away or you will break the order. You do not lose your rights to the house or your things. You may also be able to return at a later time, for example with the police, to get your things.

If you are under 18 the magistrate must also look at what housing and other support you will get before they make an exclusion order.

If you have to leave your home you can get legal and other help, such as finding accommodation.

What does ‘no contact’ mean?

‘No contact’ means you must not have any contact at all with the protected person – in person, through another person, by phone, text message, fax, letter, email or any other form of communication.

Think about how others will see your behaviour. If your children are included on the order, repeatedly watching them from a distance when they are in a park or on the school grounds could be seen as harassment. See Breaking an intervention order.

It’s no excuse to say that you did not mean to disobey a condition in the order.

You may still be able to have contact with the protected person if the intervention order says that:

  1. you may do anything that is permitted by a Family Law Act order, a child protection order or a written agreement about child arrangements
  2. you may negotiate child arrangements by letter, email or text message
  3. you may communicate with a protected person through a lawyer or mediator. Get legal help.

If you are allowed to have contact with the protected person for these reasons, it is very important that you do so in a way which is not violent or harassing. If you do anything which is harassing or intimidating while contacting the protected person about child arrangements, you may be charged with breaking the order

Will I still be able to see my children?

If the order affects you seeing your children, get legal help before you go to court. You have options.

It is the magistrate's job to make sure that any children are safe. The magistrate will always ask if your children have heard, seen or been exposed to any family violence. If they have, the magistrate may decide to include them on your family member’s order or make a separate order.

If there are already family law orders about children, an intervention order can have conditions that let you see your children according to the terms of the family law orders. However sometimes an intervention order can stop contact under a family law order. This is why it is important to get legal advice, which can help you decide what to do.

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 3 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.

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