What is an Intervention Order?
An intervention order (previously known as a restraining order) is a court order that stops a person from behaving in a particular way towards someone else. An intervention order is made to protect a person from an act of abuse. The person protected by an intervention order is called the protected person. The person restrained by an intervention order is the defendant.
The defendant may be prevented from contacting the protected person, from coming within a certain distance of them, or from assaulting, threatening, harassing or stalking the protected person.
The protected person can include any person (including a child) against whom it is suspected the defendant will commit an act of abuse. Children can be included on an intervention order without lodging a separate application.
Intervention orders can be made in situations where a person is experiencing domestic and family violence as a way of protecting them and, in some cases, their children.
Intervention orders are governed by South Australian legislation, the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 (SA).
If you believe you need an intervention order to stop a partner or family members behaviour please call 1800 246 642 to get free legal advice.
How to apply for an Intervention Order?
A person seeking to apply for an intervention order should, in the first instance, speak with police. The police have the power to issue an interim (temporary) intervention order which can provide immediate protection to a person once police have given a copy to the defendant.
If police are unable to assist, a person can apply directly to the Magistrates Court for an intervention order.
Legal advice should be sought and assistance may be obtained through the WDVCAS – see Contact Us for more information.
When a person applies for an intervention order they need to file an application form and an affidavit (sworn statement) explaining why they believe they need the Court’s protection. A person who applies for an intervention order is required to attend a Hearing to provide further information to a Magistrate as to why they need protection. The defendant is not present at this Hearing, so the person requesting protection can share their concerns with the Court without fear.
If the Court agrees that the person needs protection then an interim (temporary) intervention order is granted.
Does it cost money to apply for an Intervention Order?
No. The filing fee has recently been removed for intervention orders lodged due to domestic or family violence. This means it is now free to lodge an intervention order application seeking protection due to domestic or family violence.
What can be included in an Intervention Order?
An intervention order can include a number of clauses depending on what is needed to protect the protected person(s).
The defendant may be prohibited from doing certain things (like contacting the protected person(s), coming within a certain distance of them, or owning firearms) or may be required to do certain things (such as return property to the protected person(s), or participate in an intervention program relating to domestic violence or problem gambling).
What happens after an Interim Intervention Order is granted?
When an interim intervention order is granted it is only the start of an ongoing Court process.
The police will serve the defendant with the interim intervention order. The intervention order will only become active when the defendant has been served.
After the defendant is served with the interim intervention order they are required to attend Court and they are given an opportunity to say if they agree or disagree with an intervention order being in place.
If the defendant disagrees with the intervention order being in place, the matter will progress through the court system, which may eventually end up at a Trial.
A Trial is a full Hearing where the Court hears all the evidence from the protected person, the defendant, any witnesses and reviews any other evidence.
Trials can be very stressful for all parties involved so you should receive legal advice before proceeding to a Trial.
How can I get a Final (ongoing) Intervention Order?
A final intervention order can be obtained in 3 ways:
- The defendant does not attend Court and the Magistrate grants a final intervention order in their absence.
- The defendant agrees to an intervention order becoming final. This could include negotiating the terms of the intervention order
- A Trial is conducted and a Magistrate grants a final intervention order
How long will the Intervention Order last?
An interim intervention order will remain in place during the Court process, until either a final intervention order is granted or the protected person withdraws the application.
A final intervention order does not have an expiry date in South Australia. The order will remain in place until the protected person or defendant applies to the Court to have it removed.
Can an Intervention Order be changed or removed?
A protected person can apply at any time to have the intervention order removed or changed if they can show that the defendant no longer poses a risk of harm to them.
A protected person seeking to vary or revoke an intervention order should seek legal advice first. See Contact Us for more information on how to contact WDVCAS.
A defendant must wait a minimum of 12 months before they can apply to have the intervention order removed or changed. After 12 months have passed the defendant must be able to show they no longer pose a risk of harm to the protected persons and there has been a significant change in the circumstances.
Breaches of an Intervention Order
It is a criminal offence to breach an intervention order. If a defendant breaches a term of an interim or final intervention order you should report to police. Only the police can charge a defendant for breaching an intervention order.
If found guilty of breaching an intervention order the following penalties apply:
If the breach involved physical violence, or is a subsequent breach, then a maximum of 10 years imprisonment; OR
If the breach did not involve physical violence then a maximum of 5 years imprisonment.