Victoria Legal Aid

Going to court for a family violence intervention order hearing

Information about what happens when you go to court for an intervention order hearing.

You will get a summons or safety notice that will tell you the date of your court hearing. At the hearing, a magistrate will listen to your application for a family violence intervention order.

The first hearing date must be within 14 days from when a safety notice is issued.

If there is an application and summons, the hearing date is usually about three weeks after the applicant applies for an intervention order. It may be sooner if the respondent (person who the application is against) has been arrested.

Before the hearing date

Before the hearing date, contact the court to see what time you need to be there. It's best to get there at least 30 minutes before the first court hearing. Usually, the first court hearing starts at 10 am.

We have more information on how:

You can also watch our video Going to court – how to plan for your day (family violence)

At court

When you get to court, go to the counter and tell the court registrar you have arrived. The registrar will ask you if you wish to see the duty lawyer for free legal advice. It is important to get legal advice, even if the police are applying for an intervention order on your behalf. You should also consider asking to see the family violence applicant or respondent practitioner.

Your case may not be heard straight away. Plan to be there for the whole day.

Do not go too far away. You need to be able to hear your name being called when your case goes into the courtroom.

Going into the courtroom

At court, you may not hear your name being called if waiting in the communal area. To ensure you don't miss the court proceedings, it is a good idea to wait in the courtroom while other cases are being heard. When you enter the courtroom, make sure you bow towards the bench where the magistrate is sitting.

When your name is called, stand behind the large table at the front of the court, facing the magistrate. The magistrate or clerk will tell you what to do.

Speak clearly and answer all questions you are asked. Try to stay calm, even if the other person behaves badly.

It is important to call the magistrate 'Your Honour'. You should also make sure you stand when being spoken to by the magistrate, and when you are speaking to him or her.

Court proceedings

What happens in the courtroom during an intervention order hearing depends on how the respondent chooses to respond to the intervention order. For more information see What can happen at an intervention order hearing.

The magistrate’s decision

The magistrate will make a final order if they believe that the respondent’s behaviour should be limited to protect another person. See How intervention orders work.

The applicant or person who needs protecting will be asked how long they want the order for, and the respondent can also tell the court what they would like, but it is ultimately a decision made by the magistrate.

The applicant or person who needs protecting can also ask the magistrate to make any other changes or the order.

If the magistrate makes a final order, they will read out the conditions and when the order will end. The order is then made.

The magistrate will explain the order to the respondent. They will also explain what happens if they break the conditions of the order.

Ask the magistrate to explain anything you do not understand.

Getting a copy of the order

Once the magistrate has made the final order, you can leave the courtroom. However, you must wait at the court while the final order is prepared so they can give you a copy. This can take a while.

Read the order before you leave. Ask the court staff to explain anything in the order you do not understand. Also see How intervention orders work.

Court staff will place the order on to the police database and send a copy to the police station nearest to the protected person.

Disagree with the decision

If you are unhappy with the magistrate’s decision, or if you disagree with the conditions of the order, you can apply to vary the intervention order or appeal to the County Court.

You must appeal within 28 days of the decision. Get legal advice first.

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.

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Reviewed 28 January 2024

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