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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(s) from harm or 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.

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).

Who can be protected by an Intervention Order?

Any person (including a child) against whom it is suspected the defendant will commit an act of abuse may be protected by an intervention order.

More than one person can be named as a protected person on an intervention order.

How to Apply for an Intervention Order?

A person seeking to apply for an intervention order should in the first instance speak to the Police. The Police have the power to issue an interim (temporary) order which can provide protection to the protected person straight away once a copy is given to the defendant.

If the Police cannot or will not make an interim (temporary) order, a person can apply to the Magistrates Court themselves to ask the Magistrate to issue one. Legal advice should be sought and assistance may be obtained through the WDVCAS- see Contact Us for more information.

What happens after an interim (temporary) order is made?

After an interim (temporary) intervention order is made, there will be a court process undertaken through the Magistrates Court to make the interim order a final one. This will involve a number of hearings. If the Police issued the interim order, they will attend court through this process. If a person applied themselves for an interim order, they will have to attend court themselves. A person representing themselves may seek assistance from WDVCAS – see Contact Us for more information.

If the defendant disputes the order or the contents of the order cannot be agreed upon, the matter may proceed to a trial in the Magistrates Court and a final intervention order may be ordered.

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 substance abuse, problem gambling, or mental impairment).

The Magistrates Court will determine what orders are made in a final intervention order.

What if the defendant ignores an intervention order?

A defendant who does not obey the terms of an intervention order may be charged with a criminal offence(s) and face further court proceedings and penalties.

Is an intervention order a criminal charge?

No. Intervention orders are civil and a court issuing one does not give the defendant a criminal record. A breach of an intervention order, however, is a criminal matter and a person may face a criminal charge.

How long does an intervention order last?

There is no end date to an intervention order and it will continue until a time when it is varied or revoked by the Magistrates Court.

Can an intervention order be varied or revoked?

Yes. An application can be made to the Magistrates Court to vary or revoke the order. A defendant can only make this application after waiting at least 12 months from the date the order was originally made. To vary or revoke an intervention order, the Magistrates Court will need to be satisfied that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was made.

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.