Below is some information on the process of applying for an IVO which may be useful for you and your clients. You can find the link to this resource here and in the course materials.

The information is the work of the Barwon Community Legal Service and was developed in 2021. It is reproduced here with the creator agency’s consent.

How do you apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order?

If you’re in a violent situation, the quickest way to get help is to call the Police on 000.

If you have experienced family violence, but aren’t in immediate danger, you can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an IVO if it’s safe for you to do so.

The Court uses some language which you’ll need to understand:

  • Applicant – is the person applying for the IVO
  • Affected family member – sometimes known as a protected person – is the person who needs the IVO. (Sometimes the affected family member and the applicant are the same person. Sometimes the applicant makes an application on behalf of the affected family member, for example, a child)
  • Respondent – is the person who the applicant says has committed family violence
  • Conditions – are the rules the Court makes in its IVO about the Respondent’s behaviour
  • Interim Order – is a temporary Order. Usually, interim Orders can be made immediately and take effect as soon as the Respondent receives the paperwork. They stay in place until final Orders are made
  • Final Order – is an Order that is made at a Court hearing, either by agreement between the parties or after a Magistrate has heard evidence from both sides.

You can make an IVO application in person at the Magistrates’ Court, or online. If you need help, you can phone the Magistrates’ Court.

You will need to provide information on your application form, including:

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • The Respondent’s name, address and phone number
  • Reasons why you’re applying for an IVO
  • The conditions you think are needed to ensure your safety and the safety of other family members

You’ll also need to swear that the contents of your application are true.

In the Barwon area, there are Magistrates’ Courts at Geelong and Colac.

Going to Court to make an application

You can go to a Magistrates’ Court at any time to make an IVO application. Usually, you don’t need an appointment; you can meet with a Registrar (an officer of the Court) to go through your application.
If it’s not safe for you to go to a Court, contact the Police, or the Court to discuss your options.

It will help your application if you have evidence, for example:

  • Photos of your injuries
  • Police reports
  • Court Orders
  • Medical reports
  • Text messages
  • Emails and social media posts

You can give these to the Registrar as proof of what you say in your application. If you don’t have any evidence, don’t worry. You can still make an application.

The Registrar will go through your application form with you, and then ask you to sign it to acknowledge that it’s true and correct.

The Registrar then decides what to do with the application. They may feel that your matter is urgent enough to go before a Magistrate the same day, to ask for a temporary (interim) Order. If this happens, you may need to explain to the Magistrate why you are making the application, answer the Magistrate’s questions and provide any evidence supporting your application.

The Magistrate may:

  • Refuse to make a temporary (interim) IVO
  • Issue an interim IVO
  • Ask you to provide more information before deciding whether to issue the IVO
  • Issue a warrant for the Respondent’s arrest

If the Magistrate makes an interim IVO, you will get a copy of the paperwork. It will have the time, date and place for the next Court hearing.

A copy of the paperwork will also be given to the Police to serve on the Respondent. The IVO takes effect as soon as the Respondent is served.

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