Knowledge to Advocate: Chapter 1
Chapter One – Legal Service System
Chapter One provides an overview of the legal service system in relation to family violence, including in regards to the intersection with family law. It also outlines the barriers that victim survivors of family violence face in the legal system.
Q&A – Intersections with Family Law
The following are the questions most commonly asked by regional stakeholders about the intersection with family law.
What impact can a family law parenting order have on a family violence intervention order?
The interaction between parenting orders and intervention orders is quite complex.
When considering an intervention order application, magistrates from the Magistrates’ Court will consider any current parenting orders or agreements in place.
An intervention order will usually include a condition that allows the respondent to do anything that is permitted by a parenting order or a written agreement (such as a parenting plan). This operates as an exception to the other conditions on the intervention order, so that the respondent can continue to do the things the parenting order or written agreement allows them to do, as long as they don’t commit family violence in the process.
If there is no family law parenting order, how does an intervention order impact on the respondent’s contact with children?
If the intervention order says the respondent cannot communicate with, or come near, an affected family member who is their child, or if it says they cannot live at the same address as the child, the respondent’s access to the child is limited. If the intervention order prevents all contact and has no exceptions, the respondent may not be allowed to speak to or see their child at all.
An intervention order can allow any child contact restrictions in the order to be overridden if the parents agree in writing (e.g. via parenting plan, text or email). In these cases there is usually also a provision for mediation, contact via a mediator or a lawyer, or sometimes limited communication between parents (usually in writing only) to facilitate contact with children. The respondent must not commit family violence during any of these processes.
What can the affected family member do if the intervention order allows for existing family law parenting orders, but contact with the respondent is unsafe?
Family law parenting orders are serious and there can be penalties for contravening them. If complying with parenting orders would put a child at risk, the affected family member can apply to the Magistrates’ Court urgently for an intervention order which temporarily amends or suspends the parenting orders to ensure the safety of a child. The affected family member will then need to apply for a change to the parenting orders in the family law courts, if the safety concerns are ongoing. Workers should encourage the affected family member to seek legal advice.
- Legal Service System Resources on the NIFVS website has more information about the legal service system including information about the intersection with the family law system
- NIFVS Service Directory provides a list of legal services, courts, specialist family violence services and other relevant services.
- NIFVS Forum: What She Needs to Know: Supporting victim survivors of family violence through the legal system The summary and presentations from the NIFVS Forum in November 2017 provide further information about barriers for victim survivors and perpetrator tactics.
- Child Protection: Know your rights factsheet. (Djirra)
- Intersectionality Matters is a prevention of violence against women resource developed by Multicultural Women’s Health, which explains what Intersectionality is.
- Risk Assessment and Safety Planning on the NIFVS website provides information about how workers can assess a woman’s risk and work with her to plan her safety.