If a Respondent breaches a condition of an Interim or Final Family Violence Intervention Order (“Order”) or Family Violence Safety Notice (“Notice”), the police may charge the person with a criminal offence. Although intervention orders are a civil matter, breach of a Notice or Order becomes a criminal offence.
It is important to note that any breach of an Order can result in a criminal charge. For example, a Respondent may send a text message to the Affected Family Member or walk past their work.
If an accused is found guilty of breaching a Notice or Order, they may be imprisoned for up to two years and/or receive a large fine. If there are persistent breaches a Notice or Order, an accused may be imprisoned for up to five years and/or receive a large fine. To be charged with a persistent breach of a Notice or Order, the Respondent must have engaged in contravening conduct on at least two occasions within 28 days of that first offence. The police must also demonstrate that the accused knew or ought to have known they were contravening the Notice or Order.
It is important to note that the Affected Family Member cannot be charged with a criminal offence even if they are engaging in behaviour that is contradictory to a Notice or Order. It is important to obtain legal advice to consider whether a cross-application or application to vary or revoke an Order is necessary.