Victims of family violence can seek protection via an intervention order. Police can also seek intervention orders without a victim’s consent. Orders can prohibit a variety of actions by a perpetrator. Injunctions or restraining orders also have a role to play. Refuges and Centrelink can all help protect victims.

Trigger warning

Please note this chapter (and pages it links to) contains information about family violence that may be triggering to family violence survivors.

Contributor

Renata Alexander

Barrister

The law’s treatment of family violence

Last updated

1 July 2021

Both civil and criminal legislation provide legal remedies for family violence.

Civil law remedies for family violence

Civil law offers those experiencing family violence some future protection from the perpetrator of the violence. Court orders that protect family members can be sought under both federal and state civil law. Federal law includes injunctions or restraining orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (‘FL Act’). However, state civil law provides quicker, cheaper, more accessible, and more effective protection under the FVP Act by way of family violence intervention orders.

People who experience personal violence but are not family members (e.g. neighbours, co-tenants or acquaintances), and who are not covered by the FVP Act, can apply for a personal safety intervention order under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic).

Criminal law remedies for family violence

Family members experiencing violence can also pursue remedies under criminal law. Charges for criminal offences (e.g. assault) can be laid by police to punish the offender and try to prevent future abuse. Any criminal charges are in addition to, and not to the exclusion of, civil proceedings for future protection, such as intervention orders. It is also possible to obtain compensation for injuries caused through family violence.

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