By Cano Ergun (Trainee Lawyer) and Kristina Antoniades (Special Counsel)
On 24 July 2019 the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) and the Children’s Court of Victoria implemented two important changes in relation to family violence intervention orders. These are:
- Updated standard conditions for family violence intervention orders (FVIO); and
- Information sheets to be attached to every interim and final order.
These changes were prompted by the recommendations from the coronial inquest into the death of Luke Batty in 2015 and the Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016.
New standard conditions
The new standard conditions are designed to clarify and simplify the language used in FVIOs. It is important to note that these standard conditions can be chosen to meet a client’s needs. It is also open to a Magistrate to draft a free text order. Below is a table which provides examples of some of the new standard conditions.
Orders and applications made before 24 July 2019 will return to court as part of a transitional period and can be converted into the simpler language at the Magistrate’s discretion.
Affected persons should check with their local court about the language to be used before commencing negotiations in IVO matters.
It is important to note that family violence safety notices and other applications made by Victoria Police have not yet adopted these changes. Accordingly, when a matter initiated by Victoria Police comes to court, a Magistrate has discretion regarding whether to use the new standard conditions.
Information sheets drafted in plain language will now be attached to interim and final intervention orders and provided to affected family members and respondents. The information sheets will explain what an intervention order is and will also provide affected persons and respondents with a clear avenue to obtain further legal advice.
These changes are an important step towards improving the accessibility of the court system to the general public. By simplifying language and clarifying the obligations imposed by FVIOs, it is hoped that breaches of conditions imposed by FVIOs will be reduced.