Have you been subjected to abuse verbally, physically, emotionally or financially involving a family member? Have you been subject to harassment or violence including through publication in social media by someone who is not your family member or barely known?
One of the most memorable case I dealt with for Intervention Order was a client came to me feeling helpless as a result of continuous harassment through social media publicly and privately by the aggressor and the aggressor’s accomplice. Such passive aggressive behavior will not stop unless some form of legal action is taken. You may not have control of the other party’s action but you certainly have control over what can be done to protect yourself. Intervention Order may be the key for your protection.
There are two types of Intervention Order being Family Violence Intervention Orders and Personal Safety Intervention Orders. Family Violence Intervention Orders protects you from a person who is a member of your family such as your partner, children, parents or other relatives. Separation in a relationship is one of the most common scenario triggering the application for Family Violence Intervention Order. Besides restraining one from violence, the effect is that they evict one from home or separate a parent from the children.
On the other hand, Personal Safety Intervention Orders protects you from a person who is not your family member who committed assault, harassment, stalking, serious threats and property damage. A person’s behavior is considered harassment when a person engages course of conduct which is demeaning, derogatory or intimidating towards you. When a person torments you with demeaning or derogatory remarks such as your race or sexual identity, this may be a form of harassment.
The common orders in Intervention Order are no violence, prohibiting someone from contacting the applicant by any means, going to or remain within 200 metres of the protected person or the home or workplace of the protected person, no publication in any electronic form about the protected person and getting another person to do anything that must not be done in the order.
Another common scenario is where the Respondent and the protected person are in contact by phone calls or text messages in an attempt to reconcile their relationship when an Intervention Order is in place. Being in a limbo relationship is a no-go as the Respondent is at risk of criminally charged if reported to the police.
If you have intervention order taken against you, you may consider making a cross application for yourself should you have any basis to do so. This will strike an equal playing field between the parties. Running to Court with vexatious and frivolous application will result in the Court striking off the application and costs be awarded against the applicant at the Court’s discretion.
In resolution of Intervention Order without going to a “full blown” trial, the Respondent can offer an undertaking or “consent without admission”. Consenting to Intervention Order does not mean that you are admitting to the allegations made. Undertaking is a formal agreement between the Applicant and the Respondent for the protection of the Applicant. If undertaking is breached, the Applicant can proceed with the original application. Breaching the undertaking is not a crime and the police may not be involved. It is the Applicant’s discretion whether to accept the Undertaking. On the other hand, consenting to Intervention Order without admission means the Respondent is agreeing to the orders be made without admitting to the allegations made against them. There are various reasons people consent to Intervention Order without admission, amongst other reasons, to move on with their life or avoid the inconvenience or to save legal costs.
If the orders in the Intervention Order is breached, the Respondent can be criminally charged for breach of Intervention Order which is usually heard in the Magistrates’ Court. The penalties for breaching Intervention Order are serious, involving fine of up to 240 penalty units ($37,310.40) or imprisonment for up to 2 years or both. The sentencing depends on the severity of the breaches and mitigating factors presented to the Court.