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The complex collision of the criminal justice system and the family law system – family violence

April 30, 2019 by Douglas McMillan

The impact of family violence on family law matters is now prominent.  Victoria Police and the Courts now have comprehensive protocols for dealing with family violence.

The significant impact of family violence intervention orders, or personal safety intervention orders if you are not a family member, are extensive and breaches can lead to large fines, bonds, and potentially imprisonment.

Persons committing family violence can be removed from the family home and the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (“Vic”) provides for leases to be broken and/or parties to be directed how those lease arrangements are conducted in the future.

Even Interim Intervention Orders can result in significant restriction of time with children due to alleged violence. Putting aside the vexed question of whether people make allegations that are exaggerated, or false, to gain an advantage in a family law proceeding, the significant impact of intervention orders are now grappled with on a daily basis by judges, magistrates, barristers, solicitors, Victoria Police and the community at large.

The difficulties with respect to false allegations can be frustrating and costly as allegations are rarely tested until a contested final hearing occurs, and even if they are dismissed at the Magistrates Court of Victoria level, the allegations made in the Intervention Order Application may still be raised against a party in a family law proceeding. Ultimately, outcomes in these matters can have profound consequences for those involved, including children, in this type of litigation.

It is imperative that people who intend to make Intervention Order Applications, or those defending such application, should immediately seek legal advice to about the consequences of any such application as they have a long term impact on so many aspects of people’s lives.

For further information please contact:

Douglas McMillan

Special Counsel

+61 3 9088 0488

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