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How can I get an Intervention Order

Podcast Episode by Pearsons Lawyers
16 February 2021

(Transcription)

Leanne Abela:
Hello. My name is Leanne Abela.

Amanda Vella:
And I’m Amanda Vella.

Leanne Abela:
And we’re both from Pearsons Lawyers. In today’s podcast we’ll cover when to apply for an intervention order. Who can apply, when to apply and how to apply? What should we start with Amanda?

Amanda Vella:
I think what we should start with is if you feel that you need protection from somebody, don’t disregard any family violence and seek help, seek assistance.

Leanne Abela:
I think that’s right. Recently I was speaking to a friend of mine actually, who was talking about wanting to separate from her husband and not knowing what the next step was in circumstances where he was drinking to excess, taking illicit substances, and really harassing the family generally, her and the children, by the way of his language, raised voice, behavior. And that’s a common. That’s a-

Amanda Vella:
Very common.

Leanne Abela:
… common scenario that we get. We probably get that scenario-

Amanda Vella:
Every week.

Leanne Abela:
… every week. Multiple times a week.

Amanda Vella:
Unfortunately.

Leanne Abela:
And so, really what you need to consider is that is a ground for an intervention order. Now some people might think, but that’s not violence. I didn’t get a punch, or a hit, or a kick. That is not the extent of family violence. Family violence is so much more encompassing and broad. It covers financial control. It covers behavior that is denigrating, harassing to you or your family members. It covers situations where there are excessive texts, barraging, bad language, name calling either in the hearing of, or to the children, or to one of the parties.

Amanda Vella:
Yeah. And I think what’s important-

Leanne Abela:
Financial control.

Amanda Vella:
Financial control’s a good one.

Leanne Abela:
Control preventing you spending time with members of your extended family.

Amanda Vella:
And that’s often a reason why people don’t leave because they don’t have the financial security. But also what I was going to say, Leanne, is that in a family, being a part of a controlling relationship might be normal to you.

Leanne Abela:
Yes, yes.

Amanda Vella:
The first step is to sit back, make an appointment with a lawyer or someone that can assist you so they can give you some insight. And hindsight is really good, after the fact, but in the situation, when you’ve been in that relationship with his controlling, abusive behavior, financially, physically, sexually, all of that-

Leanne Abela:
You think that’s normal.

Amanda Vella:
… you think that’s normal. It is probably not. It’s probably not and it’s a ground for an intervention order and it might be the first step that you take to leave a relationship.

Leanne Abela:
That’s right, or to have the other person vacate the home.

Amanda Vella:
Yeah. And seek protection for yourself and your children.

Leanne Abela:
That right. So that they vacate the home. They are one person and you and the children can stay in the home, whether you’re a male or a female, because it covers both genders.

Amanda Vella:
Yep.

Leanne Abela:
Yeah.

Amanda Vella:
So what do you do to start? There’s two ways to get an intervention order and seek protection. The first way is you can go yourself to a local magistrate’s court-

Leanne Abela:
Yes, the closest court to you.

Amanda Vella:
… the closest court. You can now because of COVID and all other online resources-

Leanne Abela:
You can ring for an appointment first.

Amanda Vella:
… you can ring, or you can go on the website-

Leanne Abela:
Yes, that’s right.

Amanda Vella:
… and download an application-

Leanne Abela:
Download the application.

Amanda Vella:
… and have everything ready, because it can be a very daunting experience going to a court and being bombarded. And in family violence situations and interventional matters, also family law, the key is to particularize any of the family violence. You don’t want the situation when someone’s, what family violence, what happened, when, where? You need the time to reflect.

Leanne Abela:
You need it in your notebook-

Amanda Vella:
Yes.

Leanne Abela:
… first, record keeping. Not that you need to show your notebook, but it’s good to write these things down. And although we can’t apply for the intervention order for you, we may be the first point of call where you come to see us and we say, “Hey, I think you should apply for an intervention order.” Now there’s a second way of doing of course.

Amanda Vella:
The second way. The second way is if something happens and you’re in extreme-

Leanne Abela:
Immediate.

Amanda Vella:
… immediate danger-

Leanne Abela:
Immediate danger.

Amanda Vella:
…that’s the correct word I was looking for.

Leanne Abela:
Immediate. Yeah.

Amanda Vella:
You dial 000 and call the police.

Leanne Abela:
That’s any time of the day or night.

Amanda Vella:
You call 000. And when the police come, they will do what’s called a risk assessment. And it most likely will be that they will apply for an intervention order on your behalf. They become the applicant and you and your children or yourself are what’s called the affected family members. They are doing all the work for you. They’re coming to the event, they’re particularizing using any family violence that’s happened in the past that you’ve reported and also what’s happening in that current situation that puts you in immediate danger.

Leanne Abela:
Sometimes that will include an application to remove the other party, the person who’s violent or not to remove them, but generally it’s to remove them.

Amanda Vella:
Yeah, it’s to remove them.

Leanne Abela:
They will also make an assessment as to whether the children should be included in that order. And generally they’re do include the children.

Amanda Vella:
They do.

Leanne Abela:
They do.

Amanda Vella:
They do.

Leanne Abela:
And so they will become your legal representatives as such, but again, worthwhile coming to see a lawyer for a free appointment so that you understand, okay, so how does that interrelate, or how does that interact with family law? Does that mean he can’t apply or she can’t apply for time with the children? No, it doesn’t, but we can give you directions as to the pathways.

Amanda Vella:
And sometimes as an effected family member or someone who’s been constantly controlled and abused through a relationship, even if you’ve got the police representing you, you might want some advice and you might want a lawyer to advocate. And that’s why we’re really good because we do both intervention orders and family law proceedings all the time. I’ve had a matter Leanne, recently-

Leanne Abela:
And we act for applicants and respondents-

Amanda Vella:
And respondents.

Leanne Abela:
… so we know how to strategize.

Amanda Vella:
Because the police can also be bullied or pressured by the other side, to remove children off the order or to make what’s called a safe contact order when the respondent and the applicant can communicate with each other and be together in the same space. So if you’re in that-

Leanne Abela:
You were going to talk about one you had recently.

Amanda Vella:
Yes, yes, yes. I had one recently where my client, the police were actually representing her, but when it came to the interventional matter, the police were actually speaking to me and not the client-

Leanne Abela:
Right.

Amanda Vella:
… not the affected family member because she was used to a relationship where she would often go back to the abusive partner and she-

Leanne Abela:
So there was that sense of dependency there.

Amanda Vella:
It was a sense of dependency and power imbalance. And the respondent had a barrister representing them.

Leanne Abela:
So he was bullying a bit.

Amanda Vella:
So they were bullying a bit and there was a lot of power imbalance. Sometimes you need someone to advocate for you and step up and say, “No, look, I need the children on the order. I need these conditions.”

Leanne Abela:
“I need it to last for this long.”

Amanda Vella:
“I need it to last.” And sometimes if you’re in family law proceedings, the minimum usually, it’s up to the discretion of the magistrate to see how long an intervention lasts for. But usually it’s about 12 months.

Leanne Abela:
Usually, yeah.

Amanda Vella:
But a family law proceeding can last for over three years.

Leanne Abela:
Two years.

Amanda Vella:
Or longer.

Leanne Abela:
So you might want to be covered for longer.

Amanda Vella:
So you might want that advice from a lawyer. Really should at least give us a call or give some solicitors a call and get some free legal advice to know exactly where you stand.

Leanne Abela:
Yes. If you are interested in making an appointment, as we said, the first appointment is free so you’ve got nothing to lose, whether you proceed or not, just call Pearsons Lawyers on 1300 699 688 to book in your consultation. Thank you.

Amanda Vella:
Thank you.

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