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How Long Does an IVO Last in Victoria?

Law, legal system

What is an Intervention Order?

In Victoria, Intervention Orders (IVOs) serve as legal tools designed to offer protection to individuals who may be at risk of violence or other prohibited behaviour from another person. It may prevent a person from approaching, contacting, or being within a certain distance of the protected individual.

The use of such orders and the way in which they are granted have changed considerably over recent years, with an emphasis on protection, which has seen orders more readily made.

But one question often arises: How long does an intervention order last?

It is reassuring to have clarity on the question of the duration of IVOs and knowledge of some crucial details related to them.

Interim Orders

These are temporary orders put in place while waiting for the matter to be finalised. An interim order is issued if there’s an immediate risk to the protected person. These orders remain in effect until the court decides on the final order or until the order is cancelled or varied by a court.

It is important to note that interim orders are increasingly common and are almost always made in the absence of the respondent. This can have a significant impact on the way the remainder of the proceeding unfolds, especially in circumstances where there can be considerable delay between the making of an interim order and the final determination of the application.

Final Orders

Final orders are made either as a result of a party consenting to a final order or the court conducting a contested hearing of the application and deciding to grant an order. Final orders can last for a specific period, or, in some cases, they may have no end date, meaning they are indefinite.

The duration is determined based on the circumstances surrounding the case. Typically, the minimum average length of a final order is 12 months, but this can vary. 2-year orders are very common and some magistrates can insist on orders that are considerably longer.

When considering whether to consent to an IVO, it is important to be fully aware of all the potential consequences. This includes the fact that even if an order is by consent and even if the parties agree to a particular length of an order, a magistrate may determine their own motion to impose an order of a different (often longer) duration.

Factors Influencing the Duration

Multiple factors influence the duration of an IVO in Victoria. Magistrates will use a risk matrix to inform their decision. Factors impacting duration include:

  • Severity of Threat: Higher threats, especially those involving weapons or physical violence, may lead to longer orders.
  • History of Violence: A respondent with previous violent behaviours or IVOs might face an extended order duration.
  • Protection Needs: The specific needs of the applicant, especially when children are involved or if relocation is imminent, can affect the order’s length.
  • Rehabilitation Efforts: The court may take into account a respondent’s willingness to attend counselling or rehabilitation.
  • Evidence Presented: Tangible evidence like text messages, recordings, or testimonies can lengthen the order if they highlight severe threats.
  • Respondent’s Circumstances: Factors such as the respondent’s mental health or living conditions can affect the decision.

Variations, Extensions and Revocations

It’s essential to know that the conditions and the duration of an intervention order can be varied, extended, or revoked. If circumstances change, either party can apply to the court for a variation or revocation. For example, if the protected person feels safer or the respondent has shown a consistent behavioural change, the order might be varied or revoked.

On the other hand, if the protected person continues to feel threatened as the end date of the order approaches, they can apply for an extension. The court will then reconsider the conditions and determine if an extension is warranted.

Seeking Legal Advice on IVOs

Understanding the intricacies of Intervention Orders (IVOs) can be a daunting task, especially when you’re directly involved in the situation. Seeking advice from qualified legal professionals ensures you’re well-informed and can make the right decisions.

Clarity and Guidance: Legal experts familiar with the landscape of IVOs can provide clearer explanations about the order’s implications, the renewal process, potential variations, and the processes to revoke or appeal against it.

Representation: If you’re facing the court, whether as an applicant or a respondent, having a legal representative ensures your concerns are effectively communicated. They can help you present critical evidence, negotiate terms, and advocate on your behalf.

Knowledge of the System: Navigating the legal processes can be complicated. Experienced lawyers are well-versed in procedural aspects, can anticipate challenges, and provide strategic advice.

Confidentiality: Sharing personal and sensitive details about your situation with a lawyer offers a confidential environment. They are bound by professional ethics to maintain client confidentiality, providing a safe space for open communication.

Emotional Support: While primarily providing legal guidance, lawyers can also direct clients to appropriate counselling or support services. Emotional well-being is crucial, especially in stressful situations surrounding IVOs.

Whether you’re contemplating applying for an IVO or are a respondent aiming to understand your position better, consulting with an experienced criminal lawyer in Melbourne can be invaluable. They can guide you through the complexities, ensuring you’re well-equipped to handle the situation.

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