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IVOs – Facts versus Myths


  • What is an IVO?
  • Common Myths about IVOs
  • What to do if you receive or want to apply for an IVO?

What is an IVO?

Intervention Orders, commonly known as IVOs, are Court Orders that can be applied for by one party (the applicant) against another (the respondent). They contain rules about how the respondent can behave towards the applicant or affected person which if breached can result in very severe penalties including imprisonment for 24 months and a $37,310.40 fine.[1]

There are two kinds of IVOs:

  1. Family Violence Intervention Orders (‘FVIOs’) under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (‘FVP Act’)’ protect children and adults experiencing family violence from close partners or family members. [2]
  2. Personal Safety Intervention Orders (‘PSIOs’) under the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic) (‘PSIO Act’)protect victims outside the familial context.[3]

An IVO can be applied for by affected persons, or a police officer on their behalf if a person has done any of the following to them and is likely to do so again: [4]

  • Harassed; [5]
  • Behaved in an offensive manner; [6]
  • Assaulted or threatened to assault; [7]
  • Emotionally or psychologically abused; [8]
  • Damaged or threatened to damage property or pets; [9]

This means that even if the affected person does not want the Order made, the Police have the power to apply for an IVO if they believe that one of the above has occurred.

IVOs can be extremely confusing for all parties involved. Below we have dispelled some common myths about IVOs.

Myth #1 – An IVO is just a way of getting back at my ex

Fact: Due to the widespread applicability of IVOs, they have gained a reputation as a cheap way of getting back at an ex-partner. Instead, IVOs are an important court mechanism to help protect vulnerable people from harmful behavior. IVOs can restrict movement and behavior in a number of ways so before you apply for one, consider the serious potential ramifications on your own life and the respondent’s.

Myth #2 – IVOs are rare and don’t affect many people

Fact: IVOs are extremely common and increasing each year. Just last year, there were over 100,000 IVO applications in Victoria.[10] This is an increase of more than 25,000 in the past five years.[11] The chances are that someone you know has been affected by an IVO!

Myth #3 – IVOs are only taken out by women

Fact: IVOs are widespread and affect people of all ages and genders. It is a common misconception that IVOs are almost always taken out by women against males, however this is not the case. In 2021-22, it was found that 25,228 FVIO Protected Persons and 10,440 Respondents were males.[12] It is evident, that the Court does not discriminate when making an IVO.

Myth #4 – IVOs only affect the people directly involved

Fact: IVOs do not just affect the applicant and the respondent. They have a significant impact on third parties including teachers and family members who can become indirectly involved in these civil disputes. The Department of Education and Training Victoria even has a particular policy aimed at ensuring staff understand and respond adequately to IVOs.[13]

IVOs can also make it very difficult for grandparents and other family members to have access to see children when they are the affected persons. It is important to consider the widespread affects on an IVO.

Myth #5 – IVOs are easy to get rid of

Fact: Once an IVO has been granted by a Magistrate, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Whether you are the applicant or the respondent, to revoke an IVO you will need to go to court, and the outcome of the IVO will be up to the discretion of a Magistrate. Even if both parties seek to remove the IVO i.e. they have reconciled, its removal will be up to the discretion of the Magistrate. This can be a lengthy and stressful experience for all parties involved.

IVOs are also extremely easy to contravene and often happen unintentionally in preventable circumstances. Victoria Police recorded over 26,000 breaches of PSIOs in 2021-22 which can result in jail time for the respondent.[14]

What to do if you receive or want to apply for an IVO

IVOs can be an effective way to protect you and your family from someone causing you harm. However, receiving one can be a confusing experience. Kingston Lawyers are the experts in IVOs and have successfully pursued favorable outcomes for both applicants and respondents. We can ensure that your rights are protected.

To find out more about how we can navigate the tricky waters of IVOs for you, please call us at 9585 6455 or send us an email at

  1. FVP Act 2008 (Vic) s 123; PSIO Act 2010 (Vic) s 100.
  2. FVP Act 2008 (Vic) s 1.
  3. PSIO Act 2010 (Vic) s 1.
  4. FVP Act 2008 (Vic) s 45(a); PSIO Act 2010 (Vic) s 15(e).
  5. Victims of Crime, Intervention Orders, <>.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Annual Report 2021/22¸49.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Crime Statistics Agency, Magistrates’ Court Dashboards <>.
  13. The Department of Education and Training Victoria, Intervention Orders <>.
  14. Sentencing Advisory Council, Sentencing Breaches of Personal Safety Intervention Orders in Victoria, ix

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