Breach Family Violence Intervention Orders


In Victoria, the maximum penalty for Contravene Personal Safety Intervention Order is a fine of 240 penalty units or two years’ imprisonment, or both. As this offence involves ignoring an order imposed by a Court, the offence is considered serious by the courts and Victoria Police.

In most instances, where the charge is solitary and a first offence, the court is unlikely to order a period of full time imprisonment. However, if the intervention order is breached with an act of violence, or if the Respondent has a history of family violence, the court will seriously consider whether the Respondent should be sentenced to gaol for a period.

Often a charge of this nature will have other criminal charges attached. For example, there may be an intervention order in place which says the Respondent is not to assault the Affected Family Member. If police have reason to believe the Respondent assaulted the Affected Family Member they will likely lay charges of both Contravene a Family Violence Intervention Order and Unlawful Assault.

The Offence of Breaching a Family Violence Intervention Order

The offence of Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order is contained in section 123(2) of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. It reads as follows:

  • This section applies if a person against whom a family violence intervention order has been made—
    • has been served with a copy of the order; or
    • has had an explanation of the order given to the person in accordance with section 57 or 96.
  • The person must not contravene the order.

Can the Affected Family Member Consent to Breaches of the Intervention Order?

The Affected Family Member can never give permission for the intervention order to be breached. This means the following are criminal offences:

  • Where there is a prohibition on contacting the Affected Family Member in any way – the Respondent replying to a text message
  • Where there is a prohibition on contacting the Affected Family Member in any way – the Respondent answering the phone when the Affected Family Member is calling
  • Where there is a prohibition on going to the Affected Family Member’s house – the Respondent accepting their invitation to visit
  • Where there is a prohibition on living with the Affected Family Member – the Respondent allowing them to move into his/her house

What the Police Must Prove

To convict the Respondent of Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters:

  • There was a Family Violence Intervention Order in place; and
  • The Respondent had been served with a copy of the order or told about the order by the Court; and
  • The Respondent breached a condition of the order.

Possible Defences for Breaching A Family Violence Intervention Order

Possible defences to a Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order charge include:

  • That the accused’s act did not breach the conditions of the intervention order;
  • That the accused acted under duress. 

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This is a summary matter which means the offence will most likely be finalised in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. If the charge of Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order is attached to serious criminal charges, then the matter will likely be finalised in the County Court of Victoria.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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