Personal Safety Intervention Orders

An application for a personal safety intervention order can be made in the Magistrates’ Court - under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 - where a person fears for their safety, because of the behaviour of another person who is not a family member.

If the dispute is not violent, and there is no risk to the safety of a person or their property, then mediation and assistance from the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) may help.

If a person has been subject to stalking behaviour, violence or threats of violence, then a personal safety intervention order may help.

What is stalking?

Stalking is when a person does something repeatedly that causes another person harm or to fear for their safety.  A person can stalk someone by following them, contacting them, putting things on the internet about them, hanging around outside their home or work, or acting offensively towards them.

What is prohibited behaviour?

Prohibited behaviour includes:

  • assaulting someone
  • sexually assaulting someone
  • continually harassing someone
  • repeatedly and intentionally damaging or interfering with someone's property
  • making a serious threat to kill or injure someone.

If someone has stalked you or they have committed prohibited behaviour towards you, then they may have committed a criminal offence.  If you believe someone has committed a crime, you can report it to the police.

What is a personal safety intervention order?

A personal safety intervention order is a court order made by a magistrate in the Magistrates’ Court. An intervention order protects a person from someone who has threatened their safety.

An order has a list of conditions that tell the respondent what they cannot do, including stopping them from contacting or threatening the protected person, coming near the protected person or their home, and from damaging their property.

There are two types of personal safety intervention orders:

  • An interim order – an urgent temporary order that can protect the protected person until a magistrate can hear all the evidence and make a final decision
  • A final order – a longer term order made by a magistrate at the final hearing.
Who can apply for a personal safety intervention order?

An application for a personal safety intervention order may be made to the Court by:

  • A member of the police force
  • The affected person
  • If the affected person is an adult, any other person with the written consent of the affected person or with permission from the Court
  • If the affected person is a child –
    • parent of the child
    • any other person with the written consent of a parent of the child or with permission from the Court
    • the affected person with permission from the Court if they are of or above the age of 14 years.
  • if the affected person has a guardian
    • the guardian
    • any other person with permission from the Court.
Where can I apply for a personal safety intervention order?

An application for a personal safety intervention order can be made at any Magistrates’ Court location in Victoria. This includes the Neighbourhood Justice Centre. See court locations for more information.

What should I think about before going to court?

To get an intervention order you go through a legal process and must go to court. Make sure you have all relevant information before applying for an intervention order. You may want to think about other options to an intervention order before going to court. If you have a non-violent interpersonal dispute, you may want to try mediation. If it is appropriate, the court will encourage you to try mediation before proceeding with your application for an intervention order.

Mediation

Mediation can be used to resolve a non-violent dispute. The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria provides a free, mediation service. The mediator assists parties to talk about their issues and work out solutions. Parties can make their own agreement that will work for them.

There are many advantages of mediation including:

  • you have more control of the outcome.
  • it will be less stressful, costly and timely than a court case.
  • you are more likely to reach agreement.

Not all disputes are suitable for mediation including:

  • pursuit or predatory type stalking
  • a real risk of harm, threat or violence
  • if the police apply for the intervention order. 

For more information, see the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria's suitability guidelines for mediations

Is a personal safety intervention order a criminal matter?

An application for a personal safety intervention order is a civil matter between parties unlike a criminal matter, which is between the State of Victoria and an individual.

If a personal safety intervention order is breached (that is, the conditions of an intervention order are not followed), the respondent may be charged by the Police with a criminal offence for breaching the intervention order.

The penalties for breaching an intervention order are serious and may involve imprisonment for up to two years.  

Can a personal safety intervention order be appealed?

A party to an intervention order proceeding may appeal to the County Court of Victoria against an order of the court, in the proceeding, or a refusal of the court to make an order (a relevant decision).

An appeal against an order of the President of the Children's Court of Victoria must be made to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

An appeal against a Magistrates' order must be lodged at the Magistrates' Court within 30 days of the order being made.

Extending, varying or revoking an intervention order

The court may make an order to:

  • extend the duration of an intervention order (this application must be made before the original intervention order expires)
  • vary the conditions of an intervention order
  •  revoke (cancel) an intervention order.

An application to extend, vary or revoke an intervention order may be made by any party to a personal safety intervention order. Respondents must seek leave of the court before making an application to vary or revoke.

Area of Legislation: 

Contacts

Contact the Magistrates' Court where your matter is listed or your nearest court. 
Contact details for all Victorian Magistrates' Courts are available under Contact Us

Email: help@magistratescourt.vic.gov.au