An intervention order is an order issued by the Magistrates’ Court to protect a person affected by physical, psychological or material harm, by imposing rules or conditions on how the respondent (alleged defendant) can act towards the applicant or other protected persons. The order can prevent the respondent from harassing, threatening, or intimidating the applicant, being near the applicant’s house, contacting them in any way, or damaging property. It may refer to either a Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO) or a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO).
A PSIO is also known as a “stalking order”. It is an order issued to protect a person from assault, sexual offence, harassment, stalking, serious threats and property damage or interference with property. It does not require physical violence as it can be issued for making derogatory remarks that amount to harassment and publishing materials about a person on the internet as a form of stalking. It can also include vandalism and other forms of damage to property. If you think the respondent’s act amounts to a crime then you should contact the police to get immediate protection.
On the other hand a Family Violence Intervention Order is one that is issued to protect a family member from physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse. Family members include relatives and those persons who share intimate person relationships such as married individuals, de facto or domestic partners. This is also applicable to former spouses and partners. The order can also be used to protect children and other family members.
The main difference between a stalking order and a Family Violence Intervention Order is that a stalking order is issued against a respondent who is not a family member, while in a Family Violence Intervention Order, the respondent is always a family member. Despite this difference, the procedure for applying for an order is the same. You can apply for an order by filling out an application form with the Magistrates’ Court. You will then be interviewed about the circumstances of your application before the case will be set for hearing. While waiting for the schedule of the hearing, an interim order may be issued, which has the same effect as a final order of intervention. This is issued even without notice to the respondent if it can be shown that the affected person is in imminent danger of harmful behavior by the respondent.
An intervention order is civil in nature and cannot result in a criminal record against the respondent. However, if the respondent breaches the order, he may be held criminally liable and may be penalised with imprisonment or a fine. The effect of the order usually lasts for 1 year but you can apply to vary the order so as to extend it if the respondent still persists with their behavior.