Before the Hearing
Whether you are an Applicant or a Respondent, Support Workers can help you, free of charge, at most major courts across Victoria. The Registrar will ask you if want to speak to one.
Support Workers can help you throughout your Court hearings. They can also refer you to support services in your community. After you leave court, you may need help with difficulties you’re facing due to family violence.
There are also other agencies available at the Court if you need further help, including the Salvation Army and Court Network. They can help you while you are at Court.
The Registrar will also ask if you would like to speak to a free Duty Lawyer. On the day of your hearing, these lawyers can give free legal advice, negotiate with police or other lawyers for you, and represent you in the courtroom.
If the Police have applied for the intervention order on your behalf, they will appear in Court to ask the Magistrate to make an intervention order. If you disagree with the order the Police want, you can speak to a Duty Lawyer to get free legal advice about what you can do.
Please remember that Duty Lawyers can only give you advice about intervention order proceedings at Court on the day of the hearing.
If you need legal advice about other matters, or before you get to court, you can get help through Victoria Legal Aid, a community legal centres, or a private legal practice. Victoria Legal Aid and community legal centres also offer free legal information online and in educational publications.
If you are the Respondent to an intervention order, and face criminal charges on the same day, a Duty Lawyer can give you legal advice about your intervention order and your criminal charges.
Support Workers are an integral part of the Court’s response to family violence. They can provide assistance with and advice about court procedures.
The Support Workers can help you find appropriate support networks in your community. They can establish links between you and community support services, providing a range of referrals to programs and support agencies.
NOTE: There is a range of supports available for Koori people. Please ask the Registrar about these when you attend Court for your appointment.
Free Duty Lawyers are available for you at most Victorian courts. They can provide legal advice about your Intervention Order application, and help you understand your choices.
Duty lawyers can only help you on the day of your hearing, and can only offer advice about the Intervention Order. If you cannot afford legal representation, the Court, for the purposes of cross examination, can make an order for Victoria Legal Aid to appoint a lawyer for you.
For more details about legal representation, please see the Legal Assistance section of this site.
If you had expenses to pay as a result of a criminal act of family violence, you can apply for assistance from the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT). VOCAT can provide financial help for:
• medical expenses;
• lock changes;
• loss of income; and
• other related expenses.
For further information about making a VOCAT application, ask the family violence Registrar, Duty Lawyer or Applicant Support Worker. You can also visit the VOCAT website.
How an Application is Served
A completed application for an Intervention Order must be given to the Respondent personally. This is called ‘serving’ the application.
The Court sends the application, and any orders made, to the police station closest to where the Respondent lives. The police then attempt to serve these in person on the Respondent (if the Respondent is present at Court when an order is made, a Registrar can serve it immediately on the Respondent).
Intervention Orders are not active until police serve them on the Respondent personally. Police then explain to the Respondent what the Intervention Order means, including the consequences of breaching the order. Police then file with the Court a ‘Certificate of Service’, which proves they have served the order.
If police cannot find the Respondent, they will file a ‘Certificate of Inability to Serve’, explaining why this has happened. If police believe the Respondent is avoiding them, they can apply for a ‘Substituted Service Order’. This allows police to seek the Magistrate’s permission to serve the order in another way. This can include posting the order to the Respondent, leaving it in a letterbox, or giving the order to another person in contact with the Respondent.
When applying for a Substituted Service Order, police must prove to the Court that it will result in the Respondent being made aware the order has been served on them.