Intervention Order: Is That It or Can I Change It?


In South Australia, an Intervention Order (IVO) is a Court order that helps protect you and your family if you are a victim(s) of abuse.

A properly worded IVO will not only prohibit a person (the defendant) from behaving in a certain manner towards the protected person(s) but can also order the defendant to comply with certain directions, such as not being allowed to within say 100m from the protected person(s).

The applicant does not need to be the person who requires protection, for example, a parent may make an application for a child who may need protection from another person.


Police Intervention Order


An IVO applicant can be the Police, anyone who has suffered from abuse, or anyone who is concerned about their safety and well-being, such as a child who may hear or witness abuse.

On 25 November 2017, laws were introduced across Australia to ensure that all IVOs (which are domestic violence-related) made after those laws were introduced will be nationally recognised and enforceable.

In other words, the IVO will apply wherever the protected person may be in Australia regardless of which Court issued the orders.

An IVO can be issued by the Police (which will become effective as soon as the defendant is notified of the existence of the order) without the need for the defendant to attend court first.


Private & Interim Intervention Orders


If the Police do not grant an IVO or if you don’t require immediate protection, you can apply for a Private IVO in South Australia.

Before granting, the Court must be satisfied that it is reasonable to suspect that the defendant will commit an act of abuse or violence towards the applicant or the nominated protected person(s).

Initially, the Court will usually make an interim IVO, which will ordinarily require the defendant to appear in Court (usually within approximately 8 days of the date of the interim IVO) for the Court to decide if the Order should be confirmed (ongoing) or revoked.

A defendant is also entitled to challenge the IVO in South Australia. However, if confirmed, it will remain in place for the period noted on the Order which could be as little as 12 months or continue for the life of the defendant.


Breach of Intervention Order in South Australia


Whilst the IVO is in place, you are bound to comply with the terms and conditions of the IVO and, if you breach those terms or conditions, you are likely to receive a punishment.

In South Australia, it is a criminal offence for a defendant to breach an IVO and, even if the protected person(s) consents to contact, the defendant may still be in breach of the orders.

This may result in:

  • Arrest;
  • Court appearance(s); and/or
  • Other penalties such as imprisonment.


Intervention Order Restrictions


The types of actions and activities that can be ordered to be restricted include, but are not limited to:

  1. Not being allowed to come to your home, work, or place of study;
  2. Not being allowed to go to your children’s school;
  3. Not being allowed to contact you by phone, text message, email, or any other form of contact;
  4. Not being allowed to ask someone else to contact you on behalf of the defendant; and
  5. Not being allowed to follow you or keep you under surveillance.

An IVO can also require a defendant to do certain things which include, but are not limited to:

  1. Attend intervention programs, for example, anger management programs; and
  2. Not to own or have weapons and firearms in their possession.

Orders can also be made in relation to:

  1. Tenancy agreements;
  2. Problem gambling; and
  3. Property.


How to appeal or remove an Intervention Order in South Australia


We are commonly asked if you can appeal an IVO or have the conditions of an IVO changed.

The short answer is yes you can; however, you cannot appeal an Interim IVO in South Australia.

The Police or a protected person may apply to the court to remove, vary, or revoke an IVO.

A defendant can apply to have the order removed, varied, or revoked either at one of the hearings of the matter or, if the IVO has been made, they must wait at least 12 months from the date of the Order being made before applying.

Before removing, varying, or revoking an IVO, the Court must allow the Police, the defendant, and the protected person(s) the opportunity to be heard on the matter.

Some of the common grounds for appeal of an IVO include:

  • You did not attend the hearing because you were not aware of the hearing. This can occur if you were not served with copies of the relevant documents.
  • You were not represented at the initial hearing and have now engaged a solicitor to act for you.
  • You disagree with the decision made in the South Australian Magistrates’ Court and wish to appeal to the District Court to make an alternative decision.

The first option being that you did not attend the hearing can be sufficient grounds for an appeal or simply to have the matter reheard.

Having the matter reheard is the preferred option as the matter will remain in the Magistrates’ Court where decisions are usually made quicker with less costs than in the higher courts.

Once an IVO has been finalised by the Magistrates’ Court, any appeal to have the IVO varied or overturned such that it is no longer in place needs to be made to the District Court.

To be successful in this appeal, you will need to be clear as to the reasons why you want to have the decision varied or overturned.

One of the more compelling reasons to have an IVO varied or overturned is with the support of the protected person (the person who took out the IVO against you in the first instance).

It is not uncommon for someone to change their mind about how much of a threat someone is after the reality of the consequences of an IVO become apparent.

Another compelling reason for a variation or overturning of an IVO may be if there are children listed as protected persons who should not be on the IVO, particularly so the children can spend time with their parent.


Time Limits


If you have been served with an IVO in South Australia and you wish to appeal or challenge it, you must act quickly as there are strict time frames in place with these types of proceedings.

You ought to obtain urgent legal advice as soon as possible after an IVO has become final as the time limits imposed by the Courts are very strict.

Missing a crucial deadline may mean that you are bound by an IVO for a very long time.


Lodging an Intervention Order Appeal


When you lodge your appeal, you are usually issued with a date for a hearing quickly, commonly at the same time as you file your appeal.

The final IVO does not cease during the time that you are waiting for your appeal hearing.

You are still bound by the terms and conditions of the IVO until another order is made to either vary or overturn the original IVO.

You must attend every hearing relating to an appeal of an IVO because missing a hearing may mean that the Judge simply confirms the IVO which means that it remains in place.


Contact Us 


For more information, contact us at Bambrick Legal today. We offer a free, no-obligation 15-min consultation for all enquiries.

You can view more information about our family law services here.

Related Blog – Applicant’s Australian Citizenship denied due to IVO & Domestic Violence convictions

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