Family Violence

iThe Family Violence Protection Act of 2008 aims to enhance the safety of individuals who have experienced family violence, prevent and decrease family violence, and hold those responsible for family violence accountable. To achieve its goals, the Act sets out the guidelines and legal obligations for obtaining family violence Intervention Orders. Additionally, it defines criminal offenses related to violating these Intervention Orders.

  • Family violence, also commonly known as “domestic violence” is a significant societal issue.
  • It can occur between current or former partners, parents and children, siblings, or other individuals living together or having a familial relationship.

What is family Violence?

The Family Violence Protection Act 2008, defines ‘family violence’ to include behaviour that is:

  • Physically or sexually abusive;
  • Emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
  • Economically abusive; or
  • Threatening;
  • Coercive behaviours
  • In any other way controls or dominates the family member & causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person; or
  • Behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of physical or sexual abuse

What is a‘family member’?

A ‘family member’ under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) means:

  • Person who is or has been, the relevant person’s spouse or domestic partner; or
  • A person who has, or has had, an intimate personal relationship with the relevant person; or
  • A person who is, or has been, a relative of the relevant person;
  • A child who normally or regularly resides with the relevant person or has previously resided with the relevant person on a normal or regular basis; or
  • A child of a person who has, has had, an intimate personal relationship with the relevant person.

Saftey Notice ‘FVSN’

If you have been served with a family violence safety notice or an interim intervention order you should contact us immediately.

In instances where a family violence complaint is being addressed, and there’s no current Family Violence Intervention Order in effect, a Family Safety Notice (FVSN) can be issued to the suspected perpetrator by the police if they deem immediate protection is required.

It’s crucial to understand that the process of securing a Family Violence Safety Notice can be initiated by the police, even if the affected family member (AFM) doesn’t wish for it to proceed.


It’s not uncommon for an Intervention Order to extend protection to a spouse and their children. Crucially, the conditions of the Intervention Order are uniformly applicable to all individuals safeguarded by the Order. Often, the children of an affected family member (AFM) are included in such an order, and the respondent is barred from making contact with or approaching the AFM, and by extension, the children, unless an exception under Family Law is applicable.

The Police

We would advise clients not meet with or discuss your matter with Victoria Police prior to seeking legal advice!

The Police or family member may seek a Family Violence intervention order against you this is serious and can lead to criminal charges if you breach a final or interim order. We have extensive experience dealing with Family Violence matters and can assist you to resolve your matter.

Charges resulting from breaches?

Breach of an Family Violence intervention order – s123

If you breach an FVIO, you’re breaking section 123 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The harshest punishment you might get is having to pay a fine of 240 penalty units or going to prison for two years.

Breach – intending to cause harm – s123A

If you’re charged with a breach of FVIO intending to cause harm If you violate an FVIO with the aim of physically or mentally hurting the person it’s meant to protect, or make them feel unsafe. Section 123A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The toughest punishment you could face is a fine of 600 penalty units or five years in prison.

Breach – Persistent breach s125a

Persistent breach of FVIO Under section 125A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, continually breaking an FVIO or family violence safety notice is a crime. This includes breaking an order or a notice more than once within a 28-day period. The stiffest punishment you could receive is a fine of 600 penalty units or a five-year prison sentence.

Other Charges steming from a breach

Is it not uncommon for other charges to also be listed alongside those of a breach. Most common are charges of Assault and property damage.

If you have been charged with one of these offences and are intending to Plead guilty see here

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