Family Violence Safety Notices and Family Violence Intervention Orders


Resolve Conflict - Family Violence Safety Notices and Family Violence Intervention OrdersLegislation around family violence has recently been amended under the Family Violence Protection Amendment Act 2014. This means some conditions pertaining to Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs) and Family Violence Safety Notices (FVSNs) has recently changed in Victoria. Attention to the case of Rosie Batty in the media and the subsequent Royal Commission into family violence has placed a spotlight on how interventions are conducted. This article reviews both FVSNs and FVIOs and then explains the recent changes made to both.


What is a Family Violence Safety Notice (FVSN)?

Family Violence Safety Notices (FVSNs) were introduced to Victoria in 2008 in order to give police more power when responding to calls regarding intimate partner and family violence. A Safety Notice can be issued by a Police Officer of the rank of Sergeant or above and they improve individuals/families safety because they:

  • Offer immediate protection for victims and children by issuing a safety notice at the time of an incident, which provides conditions with which the perpetrator must comply.
  • Allows Police to remove the perpetrator from the family home until the first Court mention date.
  • Acts as an application to the Magistrates Court for a FVIO ( see below) and acts as a Summons for the perpetrator to attend court.

The benefit of the FVSN is that it offers immediate protection to individuals and families and provides an avenue for the Police to respond quickly without having to wait for an intervention order to be processed by the Court.


What is a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)?

A FVIO can be applied for at the local Magistrates’ Court. Intervention orders include conditions to prevent the perpetrator from using family violence against the protected person. If the conditions of an intervention order are breached the Police can press criminal charges against the perpetrator. If an individual or family needs protection immediately they can apply for an interim intervention order. Interim orders are short term orders that apply until a Magistrate can hear the evidence from all parties and make a final decision.


The Family Violence Protection Amendment Act 2014

The Family Violence Protection Amendment Act 2014 has made changes to the conditions of both FVSNs and FVIOs. Changes were made due to aspects of the legislation being recognised as illogical and/or limiting.


Amendments to FVIOs are as follows:

  • The Family Violence Protection Amendment Act 2014 now allows for some interim intervention orders to become final intervention orders without a court hearing. Previously if an interim order was made the matter would return to court for final determination of the FVIO application.
  • An interim order will automatically become a final order within 28 days after it is served on the perpetrator, who may contest the intervention order application within the 28 day period.
  • The Court may include a finalisation condition to an interim order where it deems appropriate.
  • The Court must consider a variety of matters in deciding appropriateness. Some of these matters include whether there is a history of family violence, the existence of recognised family violence risk factors and whether there are other intervention order proceedings.


Amendments to FVSNs are as follows:

  • Protection provided by Safety Notices has now been extended from 120 hours to five business days from the time a Safety Notice is issued. This means that if a FVSN is served on a perpetrator any victim/s of family violence may be protected under this legislation while waiting for the first mention date to be heard in the court.
  • FVSNs may now also be issued at any time. Previously Safety Notices could only be issued outside of business hours. Notices may now be issued at any time by the police, not only when the court in closed.


This article was written by: Caroline Gale from Resolve Conflict.

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