What is a protection order?

Intervention Orders are orders made under State or Territory laws that provide a quick and flexible method of obtaining legal protection from many forms of violence, for example:

    • Physical abuse, e.g. using physical force
    • Sexual abuse, e.g. forced sexual activity
    • Psychological abuse, e.g. humiliation, intimidation

Who can apply?

Grounds for issuing an intervention order if, without intervention, the defendant will commit an act of abuse against a person

An intervention order may be issued for the protection of any person against who it is suspected the defendant will commit an act of abuse or any child who may hear or witness or be exposed to the effects of abuse.

An intervention order may be issued for the protection of a person if that person is not an applicant for the order and the application is not made on his or her behalf.

How to apply

An application can be made to a Magistrates’ Court by:

  • You
  • A solicitor, friend, support worker who is authorised by you
  • A police officer – called an interim intervention order

Once an application is lodged, a hearing will be held quickly. If the order is granted, it is not effective until it is served on the person you have taken the order against. Another hearing is then held to allow this person to oppose the order.

Police-issued orders

If the police are called to attend a domestic violence incident where a person has committed a criminal offence or has made threats to commit a criminal offence, then the policemay be able to issue an interim intervention order, as well as investigate the alleged offence. As part of this process, the police will need a statement from you which is your account of what has happened and why you need an intervention order.

As soon as the defendant is given a copy of the intervention order they need to abide by the conditions that the police have written down.

A police intervention order starts operating immediately.

A court date will be specified on the order. You do not have to go to this first date. At this hearing, the magistrate will review the order and if they agree iwth it, they may confirm it (put it in place permanently), or change the conditions, or cancel the order. The police prosecutor or another police officer will let you know the outcome of the hearing.

Why the Police Won’t Always Help?

The police may feel the is not enough evidence. If you disagree, as to be referred to the Family Violence Investigatin Section in your area

Click Here for a list of Family Violence Investigation Sections in SA.

A Woman as applicant

You can apply for an intervention order at the police station. An application form (Form 28) is available from the Court.

The police will take a statement from you. Take with you any evidence or information that will help support your application:

  • notes you may have made, such as when and where things have happened
  • photos or other evidence of damage to you or your property
  • copies of any notes, letters, emails or text messages that may have been sent to you
  • medical information or reports
  • copies of any Family Court orders that apply to your children

The police will then prepare a court file which is sent to the Police Criminal Justice Section. The police wil appear in court for you. You need to attend this court hearing.

With court applications, the person you have applied to have an intervention order against will not be in the court for your application.

When an intervention order is issued, it begins to operate as soon as it is served by the police officer onto the person named as the defendant. The order does not start working until it is served on the defendant. This can take a few days. The police will tell you when the intervention order has been served.

There will be a further court date for the defendant to go to court to accept or disagree with the intervention order.

Children can be included in intervention orders where you can show that they have witnessed or experienced violence or abuse.

Types of order

Various orders can be made. For example, an order can:

  • approaching you or family members at your home or any place you may be
  • contacting, harassing, threatening or intimidating you or any other person at a place where you live or work
  • contacting or communicating with you in any way
  • publishing (in any way, including email, SMS or the Internet) any material about you
  • assaulting, harassing, threatening or intimidating you
  • damaging property or taking certain property
  • allowing or encouraging another person to do the above acts

The order may include a term which states that the defendant cannot attend the family home. The Domestic Violence Home Safety Packages Program provides assistance to victims of abuse who have an Intervention Order and who want to remain in the family home.

If an intervention order is made, the police will remove any guns in the defendant’s possession and hold them at the police station. It is important that you let them know if the defendant owns a gun.

The order can be written to suit your situation.

Breaching an order

The order is a civil order but breach of an order may be a criminal offence. Contact the police if there is breach of this order. If you feel you are in danger you should immediately dial 131 444 (or 000) and patrol car can be sent out to assist you.