What the police do about family violence

What the police do about family violence

Victoria Police must respond to all reports of family violence.

You can contact the police if a family member needs immediate protection.

The police can act even if you don’t want them to if they believe someone is in danger.

Victoria Police takes family violence seriously. Safety comes first. This includes the safety of the police and the people who are present at the family violence incident, especially children.

How the police respond to a report of family violence

If you are in danger, the police will take immediate action to protect and support you. Call the emergency number ‘000’ and ask for the police. If you have trouble understanding or speaking English, tell the first police officer you speak to so they can get an interpreter as quickly as possible.

If it is not an emergency, call or go to your local police station. See the Victoria Police website for location and contact details.

The police can search the person’s house and take any guns. Tell the police if you think the person who has used family violence has a gun.

The police can also refer you to support services for emotional, financial and legal support. These services can also help you to find a safe place to stay, if you need to leave your family home.

To help protect people against family violence, the police can also:

Issuing a family violence safety notice

The police can issue a family violence safety notice if a person needs immediate protection. A family violence safety notice protects an adult from a family member who is using family violence.

Applying for an interim order

The police can apply for an interim order by phoning or faxing the Magistrates’ Court. An interim order is a short-term order to protect a person from family violence until a magistrate can hear all the evidence and make a final decision.

The magistrate can make an interim order if they believe an affected family member, their children, or their property need protecting. The police will give a copy of the order to the affected family member and the respondent. See When an intervention order is made.

Applying for an intervention order

The police can also apply for an intervention order for a person who has experienced family violence. They may do this even if you do not want them to, because they must put the safety of you and your children first. The respondent will be told that this is a police decision.

If the police apply for an intervention order, they will also represent you at the court hearing. You still have to go to the court hearing and may have to give evidence. See Going to court for an intervention order hearing.

If the police do not apply for you, they must still explain what action you can take. They must also refer you to a support service or make an appointment for you to see the court registrar.

Arresting a violent person

The police can arrest a violent person by applying to the Magistrates’ Court by phone or fax to get a warrant. The police may ask for a warrant if you need immediate protection.

What the police can do once an intervention order is made

If a family violence safety notice, interim order or final order is issued, the police can make sure the protected person is safe while the respondent makes arrangements to obey the order.

For example, the police can:

  • be at the house when the respondent collects their things to make sure the protected person is safe and property is not damaged
  • search for and remove weapons.

If a respondent does not obey the conditions of a family violence safety notice, interim order or final order, the police can arrest the respondent and charge them with a criminal offence. See Breaking an intervention order.

Making a complaint about the police

If you want to complain about the police, take action as soon as possible after the incident. See Complaints about police.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with family violence.

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