Breach Family Violence Intervention Order - a case study
Frankston Magistrates Court, June 2022
Our client had separated from his wife after many years of marriage. There were 3 children of the marriage. Following a difficult separation, our client was served with a family violence intervention order, which was later varied and required him to vacate the former matrimonial home.
The 3 children of the marriage were listed as affected family members. The conditions of the Order prevented our client from having any contact with his children by any means. The Order did contain exceptions permitting contact but only pursuant to a Family Law Court Order, or by written agreement.
During a period of feeling very anxious and despondent about his situation, our client sent his eldest son a text message in which he apologized for the conflict with his mother, expressed his love for his son, but told his son not to tell his mother about the communication.
The communication was subsequently reported to the police and our client was later interviewed. He made full admissions to the investigating officers, and expressed his regret for sending a text he knew was not permitted under the terms of the intervention order he had been served with.
Offence & penalties
Our client was charged with Contravene Family Violence Order (section 123 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). The maximum penalty for this offence is 2 years imprisonment, a fine of 240 penalty units, or both.
How was the case prepared?
Initially, an application for diversion was made by to police submitting that several factors supported diversion, including our client's early and fulsome admissions, his remorse for his offending, and the steps he had taken towards his own rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, the diversion application was not successful and the case proceeded as a plea of guilty.
Our client pleaded guilty at the first listing of his case. In submissions to the presiding Magistrate, the circumstances of the offending were addressed and documents were tendered to the court to show he was a man of otherwise good character, and that he was committed to rehabilitation by reason of his participation in counselling to address alcohol abuse and his mental health.
The Court weighing all matters was persuaded it was appropriate not to record a conviction, and our client was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months with conditions to be of good behavior, to make a financial contribution of $1,000 to the court fund and to complete a men's behavior change program.