Level 8,

350 Collins Street
Melbourne, Vic 3000

Ph: (03) 9668 7600

Family Violence Offences

Family Violence Lawyers Melbourne.  We provide legal advice and representation at Court for all family violence offences prosecuted under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic).

Offences relating to family violence

Offences which frequently occur in the context of a family violence incident include unlawful assaults, stalking, using a mobile phone or computer to harass, threats to kill, Breach Family Violence Intervention Order and others.  

How family violence is defined under the legislation

Under the Family Violence Protect Act 2008 (Vic), "family violence" is defined as:

(a) behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour”

(i)  is physically or sexually abusive; or

(ii)  is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or 

(iii)  is economically abusive; or

(iv)  is threatening; or

(v)  is coercive; or

(vi)  in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or well-being of that family member or another person; or

(b)  behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph (a).  

What steps do police take in response to family violence complaint?

Usually, when a complaint is made to police about an allegation of family violence, the police will attend and serve a Family Violence Safety Notice on the party to whom the complaint has been made (the respondent).  After the respondent has been served with a Family Violence Safety Notice, the police will usually apply for a Family Violence Intervention Order against the respondent, and on behalf of the affected family member (the AFM).  The application is made at Magistrates' Court, and the respondent is required to attend that hearing.  Usually, the application will be for an Intervention Order in the same terms as the Family Violence Safety notice.


At Court, the presiding Magistrate will inquire as to whether the respondent consents, or disputes the application for a Final Intervention Order.  Where the case is disputed, the Court will adjourn the application usually for a Directions Hearing to a future date and Order an Interim Intervention Order in the meantime.  This Interim Intervention Order will usually be in the conditions sought by the police, although some negotiation as to the conditions of an Interim Order may be negotiated.   An application for a Final Order is determined at the conclusion of a contested hearing, unless a respondent consents to an Order.  Legal advice should always be obtained to determine whether it is appropriate for a respondent to consent to a Final Order, and it is common for consent to be given on a without admission basis. 

The interplay between criminal and family law in regard to family violence offences

Frequently, allegations of family violence occur during the context of a relationship breakdown and subsequent separation, and the situation can become more fraught where there are children of the relationship.  An allegation of family violence is not only relevant to any potential criminal proceeding but can also be relevant to the Family Court’s determination of a custody dispute (referred to as a contact or residence litigation under in Family Law proceedings).  

Where an intervention order is served as a result of a family violence allegation, it is critical to get advice about how an adverse finding might affect any future Family Law case, as a Family Court can have regard to whether an adverse finding of family violence was made in the Magistrates’ Court at the conclusion of a contested family violence intervention order hearing.

Refer to our case studies for more information relating to outcomes for family violence offences.

Call our office and get advice if you are charged with a traffic offence


It is important to get prompt advice as to how to respond to a Family Violence Intervention Order (FV IVO), as discussed above a decision to contest or consent to a FV Intervention Order can have implications beyond simply the prospect of criminal charges.    If you have been served an FV IVO, it is important to get advice urgently so that all relevant matters can be discussed holistically.  At Pascoe Criminal Law we have extensive experience defending family violence offences and intervention orders, and would be happy to discuss any allegation with you during an obligation free case assessment.  


Interested in learning more?

You can find more information about Breach Intervention Order Offences, and related offences such as Stalking by reading our blog.

A message regarding our operations during Covid 19

Pascoe Criminal Law continues to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 upon the legal profession and the clients we service.  We are available for telephone or video-conference to discuss your case and are committed to providing you with support during this difficult and uncertain period. 


For new queries, you can access advice and court representation through phone or video conference (Zoom or Microsoft Teams). We are committed to providing support to our clients through this period of uncertainty. Refer to our services page for a listing of the professional legal services we offer.


Fight Charges & Avoid Penalties

CASE STUDY: Family Violence, Intervention Order.

Outcome: All charges withdrawn.
Our client was charged with several family violence related assaults on his wife (the complainant). The alleged facts were that following a disagreement at their home.

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