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What is a family violence intervention order?

A court order to protect a person, their children and their property from a family member, partner or ex-partner.

What is family violence?

Family violence occurs when a person uses behaviour towards a partner or family member to make them feel controlled or unsafe.

If a child hears, witnesses, or is exposed to the effects of those behaviours from a family member, it is also family violence, even if that behaviour is not directed towards them.

Family violence includes a wide range of behaviours. Below are some examples.


Some examples

Physical violence 

  • Hitting, punching, pushing, pulling, kicking, choking 

Sexual violence

  • Pressuring someone into sexual acts; rape
  • Pressuring them to watch or join in pornography

Property damage

  • Breaking or damaging someone’s property or belongings, including jointly owned property or belongings.

Economic violence 

  • Controlling someone’s money against their will 
  • Forcing someone to pay or give money to others or taking money 
  • Stopping someone from working 
  • Forcing or tricking someone to take on debts
  • Using dowry or family finance issues to control someone 

Emotional, social or psychological violence

  • Making someone feel that no one cares or will help them
  • Name calling or put downs
  • Making someone fear for their safety
  • Taunting someone about sexuality or gender identity
  • Sending abusive messages via phone, email or social media or monitoring what someone does online
  • Harming or killing pets


  • To harm people (including themselves), property, or pets 
  • To take children away or to have them taken by others, such as immigration authorities or Child Protection Services
  • To disclose someone’s sexuality or gender identity
  • To post or send images held on a phone or device
  • To use family members to add pressure
  • To get someone deported

Coercing, controlling, dominating or terrorising

  • Intimidating, bullying, frightening
  • Controlling where someone goes, what they wear or eat, when they sleep, who they can see
  • Stopping someone from seeing or speaking to others
  • Withholding mobility aids, disability equipment or medication.
  • Forcing someone to marry without their consent

What is a family violence intervention order?

A family violence intervention order is a court order to protect a person, their children and their property from a family member, partner or ex-partner. It is a legal document that requires the person using family violence (known as a respondent) to stop doing so.

A family violence intervention order is sometimes also called a domestic violence order (DVO), apprehended violence order (AVO), intervention order (IVO), family violence order, or restraining order in other states and territories

An intervention order is a civil matter. However, if the respondent continues to do things the order they must not do they can be charged with a criminal offence (this is known as a “breach”).

Who are family members?

For family violence intervention orders, family members are:

  • people who share an intimate personal relationship—for example, girlfriend/boyfriend, married, de facto or domestic partners
  • parents and children (including children of an intimate partner)
  • relatives by birth, marriage or adoption
  • people who you treat like a family member—for example, a carer, guardian, or person who is related to you within the family structure of your culture.

Terms explained

  • The affected family member or affected person is the person that is protected by an intervention order.
  • The applicant is the person applying or who applied for an intervention order.
  • The respondent is the person who the application is made against.

How can a family violence intervention order protect a person?

Intervention orders include conditions to keep people safe. Conditions are rules that that stop the respondent from behaving in certain ways or doing certain things towards the person(s) protected by the intervention order.

Each intervention order has different conditions. They may require the respondent to:

  • stop the behaviour
  • not contact or communicate with the protected person
  • not publish anything on the internet, electronic communication (email) or other social media about the protected person
  • not go to or stay near the protected person’s home, school or workplace
  • not get anyone else to do anything they are not allowed to do on the order.

Breaking the conditions is very serious. It is a criminal matter and should be reported to the police.

A family violence practitioner is a court-based support worker who can discuss with affected persons what conditions might be included on an intervention order to help keep them safe.

If you are experiencing family violence

If you think you are being exposed to family violence and it is safe for you to contact us, speak to a registrar or family violence practitioner to talk about how an intervention order can protect you.

If you are in immediate danger, call 000.