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Intervention Orders

What is an intervention order?

An intervention order prohibits a person (the defendant) from contacting or behaving in a certain way towards a protected person. It is an order made by a Court. As it is made under civil law, it isn’t actually a criminal charge.

An intervention order is often pursued at the same time that an allegation of assault is made. Its purpose is to protect a person because it is suspected or feared that the defendant will commit an act of abuse against that person.

When will a  Court make an intervention order?

In accordance with South Australianlaw, a Court can make an intervention order if it reasonably suspects that the defendant will, without intervention, commit an act of abuse against a person. It must also be satisfied that under the circumstances it is appropriate to make the order.

Intervention orders can be made in domestic abuse cases, such as spousal relationships, and in non-domestic abuse situations, such as threats from a neighbour.

What is abuse?

An act of abuse is defined as an act resulting in one or any of the following:

  • Physical injury, or
  • Emotional or psychological harm (including mental illness, nervous shock, distress, anxiety or fear that is more than trivial) or
  • Unreasonable denial of financial autonomy, or
  • Damage to a person’s property.

What if Family Court orders conflict with an intervention order?

Where an intervention order is inconsistent with a Family Court Order, the Family Court Order will apply.

For how long does an intervention order last?

Once ordered by the Court, an intervention order lasts forever. An application to vary or revoke the Order can be made after 12 months.

What is the penalty for breaching an order?

Even though an intervention order is made under civil law, any breach of the order is a criminal offence. A breach can be punishable by imprisonment. This is why it’s really important to remember that an intervention order is one-sided and so if the order is made against you, you can’t breach it in any way.

Do I need a lawyer? 

If an intervention order is made against a person, it will usually seriously restrict their right to go wherever they wish or to interact with whomever they choose.  It is not to be taken lightly.

Engaging a criminal defence lawyer will ensure that Court hearings take place as quickly as possible and that the prosecution is on notice of any issues.  Even if the intervention order is not contested it might be possible to negotiate the terms of the order.

There are also limits on how an unrepresented defendant can conduct a trial.  Securing legal representation will ensure that the case is presented in the best way possible.

Very often an intervention order will be made in a family law dispute. It is invaluable to have a lawyer who understands both the family law issues and the intervention order issues. This ensures that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, so to speak, because anything done on one case might affect the other.

How do I get a lawyer?

Contacting a specialist criminal defence lawyer will help to ensure that you get the right advice, right from the start. At Websters Lawyers, we have experienced criminal defence lawyers and we offer a 20 minute free first consultation in which we can explain the Court process and the charge to you.

Call Websters Lawyers on 8231 1363 to speak with a criminal defence lawyer today.

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