We have previously posted an article on what an Intervention Order is. To view that article click here.
While Intervention Orders are civil in nature, and you can agree to one being made against you without admitting to the allegation being made, there are some things to consider first.
Under section 129 and 130 of the Family Violence Protection Act, the Court must order a respondent to a Family Violence Intervention Order to attend for an assessment on their eligibility for counselling concerning the family violence alleged. In general practice, this usually applies to male respondents being assessed for a men’s behavioural change program (“the Program”). When the Intervention Order is made, the Court will order you to meet with a worker to assess whether you are eligible for the Program.
Even if you deny the allegations made against you, you may still be deemed eligible to undertake the Program. This decision is made by the Court staff who meet with you, and you are provided with the assessment to take to the Magistrate. Programs can run after normal work hours, therefore working full time is not usually a suitable reason to avoid undertaking the Program.
Men’s Behavioural Change Program
If you are assessed as eligible, you will then go back before the Magistrate who is likely to order that you complete the Program.
The Program runs for approximately 26 weeks with individual sessions in the beginning, and then you will proceed to attend group sessions.
A men’s behaviour change program is a program for men wanting to end their use of controlling and abusive behaviours (including violent incidents) and other problematic behaviour in their relationship. The Program is designed to help men to address hurting the people they love most, develop an improved sense of self, and in the process become better partners and fathers.
Risks of not completing the Program
If you fail to complete the Program, you could be summonsed to Court and face a fine and even a criminal conviction. This would mean that although the Intervention Order originally was not a criminal matter, failing to attend or complete the Program when you were ordered to do so, can become a criminal offence.
- Employment Implications
Agreeing to an Intervention Order without admitting to the allegations made is a civil order and not a criminal matter. Therefore, most lawyers will advise you that it will have no implication on you unless you breach the Intervention Order. However, there needs to be consideration taken because it can affect your current and future employment prospects.
Example Case Study – Client C.
Client C and their former partner had cross Intervention Order Applications against one another. To avoid the need for a direction hearing and a subsequent contest hearing (where a Magistrate decides whether an Intervention Order is appropriate in the circumstances due to evidence provided) both parties agreed to mutual Intervention Orders against each other without admitting any of the allegations.
This is a common way Intervention Orders can be resolved.
Unfortunately, client C was unaware that there would be significant impacts on their future career pursuits in their chosen fields, in which they had spent a considerable amount of time and energy obtaining undergraduate and graduate qualifications.
Client C wanted to use their qualifications to pursue work in several sectors, including education, community services and possibly law enforcement. When seeking legal advice, client C was advised that as the Intervention Order was not a criminal matter, agreeing to the Intervention Order without admission of the allegations would not affect these pursuits.
Client C subsequently found out that:
- The Victoria Police Guidelines state that a person who has a Final Intervention Order, Family Violence or Personal Safety Order against them, whether it was after a finding by a Magistrate or by agreeing without admission to the facts, that person will be ineligible to apply for the Police force for five years after the date of expiration of that Intervention Order. This means that if you agreed to a two-year Intervention Order, without admitting to any of the allegations against you, you would be ineligible to apply for the Police force for seven years from the date the Intervention Order was finalised.
For details on what may hinder your application to the Police force, click on this link:
- The Australian Institute of Family Studies outlines what considerations are taken into account in each state when determining whether a Working with Children Clearance will be given. An example of the complications that arose for client C is that in NSW and the ACT, Intervention Orders are taken into consideration when deciding whether a Working with Children’s Clearance will be granted. For details on the considerations, click on the following link:
- Some employers working in the disability and/or community sectors require disclosure of all Court appearances in which you have been involved, which would include Intervention Order proceedings although they are civil in nature.
Client C has applied for a re-hearing and successfully had the Intervention Order struck out. Unfortunately, as it was in place previously, the Police advised that client C was still ineligible to apply for 5 years. However, client C requested they review this decision, and upon doing so, the Police advised client C was not prohibited from applying to the Police force.
This is not an exhaustive list of complications that can arise or employment issues that might be impacted. Each profession may have its own requirements. Before consenting to an Intervention Order without admission, you should ensure that you have given every aspect proper consideration and investigate the impacts it may have on your current and future employment.
If you have any questions about the above information or you would like assistance concerning Intervention Order matters, please contact us on 5303 0281 or at [email protected].
The information on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances.
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