Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices

Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices is found in section 125A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who repeatedly (at least twice in the previous 28 days) breaches any conditions of a family violence intervention order or family violence safety notice. The contraventions must be related to the same order or notice but may involve any of the protected people (i.e. may be more than one). It is also necessary for the accused to have known that their conduct was a contravention of the order or notice.

Have you been accused of Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices?

Police Interview

The police will want to interview you if they are investigating you in relation to a persistent contravention charge. It is common in cases like this for the police to charge you regardless of what you say in the interview. This doesn’t mean you should conduct the interview without receiving adequate legal advice.

Investigations of this kind always involve two sides to the story and the police interview is not always the best time to tell your side. Whilst the police will always listen to both sides, it doesn’t mean you then avoid being charged. There are a few considerations worth exploring and discussing ahead of a police interview for more than two contraventions of a Family Violence Intervention Order (“FVIVO”) or Family Safety Notice (“FSN”).

Every situation is unique and our lawyers offer bespoke legal advice that takes into account all relevant information. We have achieved great results for our clients facing persistent contravention charges that started out with sound legal advice – call us before your interview.

Pleading Not Guilty

Persistent contravention charges are taken seriously but are not always made out. For the charge to be proven, each of the alleged breaches must be proven. Our experienced defence lawyers have successfully had breach charges withdrawn which has meant a charge of persistent contravention cannot be prosecuted. This is often done without even entering the courtroom. This is done by assessing the strength of the brief of evidence against you and be listening to your side of the story. Allegations in the family violence contact are often embellished or entirely false – we have a proven track record of conveying to the police the real version of events to achieve charge withdrawals for our clients.

The sooner you contact us about defending these charges, the best place you are for success.

Pleading Guilty

We are specialist defence lawyers who have years of experience in preparing powerful plea hearings on behalf of our clients. Persistent contravention charges arise in a sensitive and personal context. Often the individual breaches are unintentional or not too serious in nature. Sometimes they are intentional and appear to be at the serious end of the scale, but with an explanation that explains the context and why you did what you did.

We understand this and tailor our service accordingly. We put our clients mind at ease, prepare a sympathetic plea in mitigation and ask the court for a sentence we think is fair and appropriate.

What is the legal definition of Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices?

It is an offence to persistently contravene a family violence intervention order or family violence safety notice.

The elements of the offence are:

  • an accused engages in conduct which constitutes a contravention of an intervention order in accordance with s123 or a contravention of a safety notice in accordance with s37; and
  • on at least two occasions in the preceding four weeks, that accused engaged in conduct which constitutes a contravention of an intervention order in accordance with s123 or a contravention of a safety notice in accordance with s37; and
  • that conduct occurred in relation to:
    • the same protected person; or
    • the same family violence intervention order (whether interim or final) or family violence safety notice, irrespective of whether it was directed at the same protected person; or
    • a family violence safety notice and a family violence intervention order (whether interim or final), provided that the relevant safety notice constituted the application for the relevant intervention order, irrespective of whether the conduct of the accused was directed at the same protected person; and
  • on each occasion in which the accused engaged in the relevant conduct, the accused knew or ought to have known that the conduct constituted a contravention of the intervention order or safety notice1
Examples of Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices
  • A person goes to the house of an ex-partner when there is an intervention order in place. Two weeks later the same person contacts their ex-partners mother who is included in the same order. That person ought to have known not to contact both people.
  • A person threatens a family member who is protected under an intervention order by way of damaging their property via text massage. The following day the same person posts a photo of their family member on social media. That person ought to have known not to contact that person or visit that property.
  • A person is repeatedly seen to be too close to a protected persons residence, work or their school or childcare if they are younger. That person ought to have known not to visit those locations.
Legislation

The offence of Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices, is governed by section 125A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.

Elements of the offence
  • The accused engaged in conduct that would constitute an offence against section 37 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (contravention of family violence safety notice) or section 123 (contravention of family violence intervention order)
  • On at least 2 other occasions within a period of 28 days immediately preceding the conduct (breach of order/notice), the accused engaged in conduct that would constitute an offence against section 37 or section 123 in relation to the same protected person; or the same family violence safety notice or family violence intervention order (when an interim order or final order), whether or not in relation to the same protected person; or a family violence safety notice and a family violence intervention order (whether an interim order or final order) made on the family violence safety notice as an application, whether or not in relation to the same protected person AND
  • On each of the occasions referred to in the paragraphs (a), and (b) the accused knew or ought to have known that the conduct constituted a contravention of the family violence safety notice or family violence intervention order (as the case requires).
Defences

Cases related to the offence of Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices may be defended on the basis of a failure to prove the intent to commit the offence, impossibility, necessity, factual errors, failure to comply with the elements of the offence (as stated above), and the concept of putting the prosecution to their proof.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did the conduct constitute a breach of an order or notice?
  • Did the person know or should they have known that they were breaching an order or notice?
  • Is there clear separation between the alleged conduct?
Maximum penalty for section 125A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008

The offence of Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices (s125A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008) carries a maximum fine of 600 ($96,714.00 at the time of print) penalty units or maximum of 5 years imprisonment, or both.

Sentencing

Sentencing in the higher courts of Victoria

Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Persistent Contravention of a Family Violence Safety Notice or Intervention Order in the Higher Courts of Victoria between 2018 and 2021

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Persistent Contravention of a Family Violence Safety Notice or Intervention Order in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria between 2018 and 2021

Case studies related to Persistent Contravention of Family Violence Intervention Order or Notices
Other important resources


[1] Judicial College Victoria, 4.1.3 – Persistant Contravention of Intervention Order or Safety Notice (19 April 2013) < http://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/eManuals/FVBBWeb/45467.htm>.