Family Conflict can become Family Violence

When a relationship or family situation breaks down – emotions and feelings are generally quite intense and upsetting. This can have negative consequences. This is often a time of disagreements and conflict. Also it can potentially be a time when parties are at risk of family violence. Family violence is defined as behavior from one member in a family towards another, that causes that person to feel fear or apprehension.

The type of behavior it covers is behavior that is physically/sexually abusive, emotionally/psychologically abusive, economically abusive, threatening, coercive OR in any way controls or dominates a family member. In particular if any of the above occurs where a child can see or hear it.

The Victorian government takes such behavior very seriously and has created protective action that affected family members can take, so that they are safe and feel safe. That is the process of applying for a family violence intervention order. Any person can seek an intervention either on their own behalf or on behalf of another family member, if they feel they need protecting.

The process is simple and can take place at any Magistrates court in Victoria. The application can be either in person or via a police officer. If you are making an application you are the applicant, the person who the application is against is the respondent.

To initiate the process an appointment is made at the closest Magistrates court. You will need to write a summary of the behavior that has occurred and why you want the order. If the court thinks that protection is urgent, then an interim intervention can be made on the spot to offer immediate protection.

An order can have varying conditions – preventing or allowing certain behavior from the respondent. Breaching an intervention order is a criminal offence and should be reported immediately to the police.