Online applications for intervention orders are now available for family violence related matters, via the Magistrates’ Court website.
Amendments to the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 which commenced on 31 July 2019 allow an applicant to apply online, instead of attending in person at a police station or magistrates court. Online applications for intervention orders take about 15 minutes to complete. They can be saved, amended and lodged at any time within 4 weeks of being started.
Police can also make the online application on someone’s behalf.
There is no requirement for the application to be sworn or witnessed. Rather, when completing the online application the applicant must make a declaration of truth as to the contents of the application. Making a deliberately false declaration of truth is an offence carrying serious penalties – up to 600 penalty units and 5 years imprisonment. The applicant must also acknowledge their understanding of that offence and those penalties when completing the application.
When deciding whether to make an interim order based on an online application, the Magistrates’ Court can waive the requirement that the application be supported by oral evidence or an affidavit. Before waiving the requirement the court must consider whether it is practicable to obtain oral evidence or an affidavit before the order is made.
The By Lawyers guide Intervention Orders (VIC) has been updated to cover online applications for intervention orders. This publication is located in the By Lawyers Criminal – Magistrates’ Court guide.
Assistance for potential applicants and background information on the new process is available from the Neighbourhood Justice Centre via the Magistrates’ Court website.