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An intervention order (also commonly referred to as an AVO, restraining order or a protection order) is a court order that prohibits a person (the defendant) from committing an act of abuse against a protected person.

When can an Intervention Order be sought?

An intervention order can be sought in a family situation (for example where the protected person is the defendant’s partner, spouse or child), or non-domestic situations, such as against a neighbour, work colleague or a customer.

Who can apply for an Intervention Order?

Generally, Police Prosecution will make an application for an intervention order on behalf of the protected person in urgent circumstances. This occurs where the defendant has also been charged with a criminal offence against the protected person (such as an assault). This is not always the case, and sometimes an application for an intervention order is made on its own without a criminal charge.

Unfortunately the police are not always able to help someone apply for an intervention order. Any person who has been the victim of an act of abuse can also make an application privately and we are here to assist you with that, if needed. For example, if your former partner or neighbour is acting in an abusive manner towards you or a customer is harassing you and you want them to stop doing so.

A person can also make an application on behalf of a child who is the victim of an act of abuse.

What is an act of abuse?

The Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 is the legislation that deals with intervention orders in South Australia.

In the Act, abuse is defined as including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic abuse, where that action is intended to or results in:

  • Physical injury; or
  • Emotional or psychological harm; or
  • An unreasonable and non-consensual denial of financial, social or personal autonomy; or
  • Damage to property in the ownership or possession of the person, or used or otherwise enjoyed by the person.

On what grounds can an intervention order be issued?

Under section 6 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 Act, an intervention order may be issued against a person (the defendant) if:

a) It is reasonable to suspect that the defendant will, without intervention, commit an act of abuse against a person; and

b) the issuing of the order is appropriate in the circumstances.

All Intervention Orders issued in South Australian from 25 November 2017 are automatically recognised and enforceable across Australia, meaning local police in each State or Territory will enforce the conditions regardless of where the order was issued.

Intervention orders for victims of abuse (applicants)

You may wish to seek advice about how to apply for an intervention order and what to expect. We can assist you with this.

We can also assist you with advice about the family law process if your application involves a former spouse, partner or child and how orders made in that system can protect you and your children.

Intervention orders for defendants

An intervention order may be coupled with criminal charges or may proceed alone. The order may affect you in many ways, including your work or other opportunities and also in respect to any Family Court proceedings where it could suspend orders for time with children.

The order can be defended if the allegations that form the basis for the order cannot be proven, or the applicant cannot meet the grounds under section 6 of the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009.

If you have been served with an interim intervention order, it is important for you to obtain properly legal advice about the order and its effect on you. We can provide you with this advice and also assist you in navigating the legal process moving forward.

How can we help?

For advice on intervention orders, you can contact me directly via email at [email protected], or by calling 8414 3444.