Victoria Legal Aid

When a family violence intervention order starts

What has to happen for an interim or final family violence intervention order to start and what happens when it ends.

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.

A family violence intervention order will start protecting the affected person when it has been either:

  • given to the respondent at court, or
  • served on the respondent by police.

It lasts for the period of time that is stated on the order.

You must lodge the application to extend the order before the expiry date of the old order, otherwise you must make a new application. You need to apply for a new order if you still do not feel safe when an order expires.

When an intervention order starts

If the respondent was at the court hearing

If the respondent was at court when the magistrate made the final order or extended an interim order, they will get the order from court staff after the hearing. The order will start once the final order is handed to the respondent. See What can happen at a family violence intervention order hearing.

If the respondent wasn’t at court

The police can serve the interim or final order on the respondent. To serve the order, the police must hand the order to the respondent in person and explain the conditions of the order.

If the police cannot find the respondent, they can ask a magistrate for a 'substituted service'. This is where the magistrate orders that the intervention order can be served on someone else, such as a family member, boss or associate.

A magistrate will only agree to this if:

  • the respondent can’t be served personally
  • the intervention order is likely to be passed on to the respondent by the person being served the order.

You should find out when the respondent has been served so you know when the intervention order starts. It may not be safe to go home until you know the respondent has got the order.

To find out if the respondent has been served, ring the police or the court. It's best to check a day or two after the order was issued.

When an intervention order ends

Interim intervention orders usually last (or are extended) until a magistrate makes a final decision.

It is up to the magistrate to decide when a final order ends. If there is no date specified on the order, this means that it will continue to protect the affected person on an ongoing basis and only ends if the order is revoked (cancelled) by a magistrate or set aside on appeal. This is the case, even if a child named on the order turns 18.

Extending an order

If you feel that you need the order to continue for longer than the expiry date on the order, then you can apply to the court for an extension. Just make sure that you lodge the application to extend before the order expires.

You must apply for a new order if you still need protection after the expiration date.

You must apply for a new order if you still need protection after the expiration date

If you still fear for your safety when a family violence intervention order expires, you must apply for a new order. The court or the police will not tell you that the order is about to end, so you need to be aware of this date yourself.

The respondent will be notified if you apply for a new intervention order.

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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